Date of Graduation

Summer 2020

Degree

Master of Science in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Michael Clayton

Keywords

municipal solid waste, gamification, visual prompts, recycling behavior, sustainability, contamination

Subject Categories

Applied Behavior Analysis

Abstract

Landfills pose a risk to the current level of human development and population growth. Leachates have the potential of polluting the ground water which can cause severe birth defects and decrease the population. When municipal solid waste breaks down it produces methane gas creating debilitating health problems that are fatal. More attention will have to be directed towards sustainable growth by reducing the amount of recyclable materials being discarded as waste. Part of the public affairs mission of Missouri State University is to engage in pro-social behavior and incorporate the student body and community whenever possible. One way of modeling pro-social behavior is to increase student recycling behavior and decrease contamination in recycling plants. This demonstrates an investment in the community and provides a good model for the students. To this end, the university has invested significantly in recycling behavior by purchasing high-quality bins and placing them throughout most of the buildings on campus. In order to increase student recycling of plastic bottles and reduce contamination of the recycling bins with trash items, the current study used prompts and a raffle to encourage recycling of plastic bottles and accurate placement of items in the bins in Hill Hall and Siceluff Hall. The results suggest that the interventions may have had a modest effect. Obstacles and limitations are discussed before describing how future research may continue productively.

Copyright

© Heather Marie Felske

Open Access

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