BEC Internship (Summer Semester, 2013-2014)

Research Topic: Exploring the Role of Information Cues in Improving Recycling Behavior in Communities

This internship was co-organized with the Business Environment Council. In addition to engaging students in office work and sustainability projects of a green NGO, a major target of the internship was to explore and extend the generalizability and practicality of the interventions developed in the first project. Three POL undergraduate students, namely Jane MA, Kari WONG and Kerry WONG, were recruited as summer interns. They have utilized the qualitative focus group method to serve the purpose. 

Two focus groups were held on 23rd and 30th July, 2014. A total of 15 local residents, including 7 from Nam Shan Estate (Shek Kei Mip, Kowloon) and 8 from Fu Heng Estate (Taipo, New Territories), were recruited respectively as focus group subjects. One group of the participants self-reported themselves as “low recyclers”, who just rarely or sometimes recycled in the past 3 weeks. Another group consisted of “low recyclers” and “high recyclers”, who reported that they always or often recycle in the past 3 weeks. The result showed that most of the participants acknowledged the usefulness of the interventions. They agreed that location indicators of closest recycle bins could make people recycle more, and that a caution sign indicating what should not be dumped into garbage bins may enhance the recycle rate. Yet, they suggested that the distance between garbage and recycle bins – which is more understandable to be expressed in terms of time (e.g., minutes or seconds) rather than in terms of psychical distance (e.g., steps, meters) – should not be too far away. In general, people are willing to walk only 1 or 2 minutes for recycling.


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