Data Acquisition

Can Composting Lead to Other "Green" Behaviors?

07 December 2017

A study by researchers from Ohio State University explored whether individuals who participated in community composting programs were likelier to participate in other green behaviors.

Originally meant to gauge the success of a composting program in Costa Mesa, California, researchers surveyed the 284 residents in that city participating in its compost pick-up program.

Observing the behaviors of those participating in the program, researchers concentrated on the concept of "spillover" where one behavior leads to another.

“In our study, one pro-environment change appeared to lead to other benefits and that could be important to know as city leaders and others consider conservation projects,” said Nicole Sintov, assistant professor of behavior, decision making, and sustainability at Ohio State University.

"The idea is if you’re investing all these resources — composting bins and trucks and new facilities — is it possible that this could lead to any other pro-environment behavior, or do people start to slack off in other areas, which we don’t want,” Sintov said.

When asked about behaviors concerning food waste, water use and energy use, researchers found that those participating in the composting program also participated in water and energy conservation behaviors such as taking shorter showers and unplugging electronic devices not in use.

For more information, watch the accompanying video.

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