Can Sustainable Behaviors Be “Designed-In?”: Effects Of Composting Type On Municipal Solid Waste Production And Composting Attitude

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Abstract
Introduction: Food waste poses a threat to environmental, economic, and human health. Composting can reduce the threat, yet there is a dearth of research on household-level composting participation. Methods: A within-subjects, randomized-to-order experimental field study with baseline and repeated measures was conducted in an Upstate New York apartment complex. Self-reported weekly trash weights and composting attitudes were collected from 27 households who used three composting types over 14 weeks. Results: A mixed model ANOVA revealed a significant reduction in waste from baseline for all three composting types. Indoor and outdoor composting reduced waste more than off-site food scraps recycling. An interaction was found for composting type by stage in family lifecycle, composting experience, ecological behaviors, and proximity but not environmental concern on waste reduction. Qualitative analysis revealed a general preference for indoor composting yet attitudes ranged widely. Discussion: The results suggest different composing types are suited to different household types.
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2013-08-19
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Household composting; Pro-environmental behavior; Environmental psychology
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Wells, Nancy M.
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Sobal, Jeffery
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Human-Environment Relations
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M.S., Human-Environment Relations
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Master of Science
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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