How effective are counties in communicating recycling messages to their citizens and are they effective?

This research will identify the communication tools applied by Florida local governments to transmit recycling messages to their residents and the changes in the form and content of these communications to citizens. These assessments of recycling communication can then be linked to the recycling behavior of the residents of the county. This will provide much stronger evidence to assess what messages and what types of information are effective in influencing change in citizen’s involvement in their county’s recycling programs.

Recent research supported by the Hinkley Center takes the initial steps to fill the lacuna in our understanding of the link between county communications and behavior. A team of researchers at the University of Florida led by Janice Krieger evaluated the core text and visual components of recycling messages in Florida and identified characteristics of high- and low-recyclers through focus groups to best practice recommendations for recycling communication. This work is being extended through interviews with officials in low- and high-recycling performance counties. A team of researchers at Florida State University led by Richard Feiock and Namhoon Ki is replicating the evaluations of core text and visual components of recycling messages and conducting a survey of local governments on the process of communication and the messages and media relied on. This will be linked then to measures of recycling and contamination rates.

The proposed research builds upon, integrates and extends this work and makes a significant new contribution by examining the effectiveness of counties’ recycling communication to their citizens and are its effectiveness in influencing specific behaviors.

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