Rethink, Reset, Recycle in Florida: Smart Recycling to increase Local Recycling Rates and Reduce Contamination

Rethink, Reset, Recycle in Florida

This study aims to increase the Florida statewide recycling rate by investigating the statewide recycling education campaign, “Rethink, Reset, Recycle”, which was initiated in November 2017 on Florida Recycles Day. The campaign encompasses a wide range of messaging resources intended to increase of public participation in curbside recycling and reduce contamination rates. Working closely with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) we will apply social science and policy theory and models to investigate the factors influencing citizen behavior relating to recycling and assess the educational messaging in order to model changes in county contamination and recycling rates in Florida. 


We will track the longitudinal changes of curbside recycling rates of 67 counties in Florida before and after the dates those counties first used such resources for the campaign. Working with DEP and material recovery facilities, we will also track changes in contamination rates for a sample of counties. Furthermore, we will control for county characteristics by compiling an extensive longitudinal database of county characteristics. Messaging policy will be captured in two ways.  First, we will apply textual analysis to disseminated materials will extract messages content, patterns and clusters that can be added to the explanatory models we will estimate. Second, we will survey county recycling coordinators regarding the message content, media, and timing of their efforts.  This will also allow us to compare managers perception of the most effective messages with the results. Evidence from our rigorous methodological analyses will produce specific policy advice to reduce municipal solid waste and/or to increase recycling rates.

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