Preprint version. Published in Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 21, Issue 8, April 1, 1991, pages 611-629.
This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Social Psychology and the Stimulation of Recycling Behaviors: The Block Leader Approach, Shawn M. Burn, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 21:8, Copyright © 1991 V.H. Winston & Son, Inc.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1991.tb00539.x.
Recycling has been touted as an important part of the solution to solid waste problems, yet most citizens still do not recycle, even when recycling is made easy by curbside pickups. This field experiment was designed to increase participation in a city-sponsored curbside recycling program. Citizens who consistently recycled with the city program were approached and asked to be "recycling block leaders." Those who agreed were instructed to give approximately 10 nonrecycling neighbors a persuasive communication advocating recycling and special recycling bags. A second treatment group (of nonrecycling households) had bags and the communication left at their door. Results indicated that the curbside recycling of the two experimental groups differed significantly from one another (with the block leader group recycling more), and both differed significantly from a control group receiving no treatment. A discussion of past recycling intervention research and its feasibility for community application is included.