Engaging residents in the source separation of organic household waste
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Subjectcompost; diversion; green cart; organics; source separation; waste education
This research used a multi-case study design to explore approaches used by seven Canadian municipalities to engage residents in the source separation of organic (SSO) household waste. The data is based exclusively on the experiences of waste management professionals, which I collected through interviews, and document reviews. The results show that most municipalities use normative feedback interventions to correct mistakes made by residents during waste-sorting and set-out. This type of outreach was supported by extensive communication campaigns at the time of program launch. While green carts are not a new invention, it makes little difference to residents who are, for the first time, asked to participate in such a program. My thesis also provides an overview of common barriers and benefits residents see in organics separation. These include the yuck factor, lack of space to store carts, accessibility issues, and cost. Paper products, plastic products, pet waste, and meat and protein products stand out as items that are difficult to identify as organic material. This research was exploratory due to a lack of available preliminary research on the topic of green cart adoption.
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