I am teaching a class on waste management to students who are primarily environmental management masters students. For one of the sessions I plan to discuss the role of consumer/waste generator behavior in the waste management system. A colleague will present a basic introduction to some theories of behavior. I, however, would like to discuss consumer behavior from the perspective of the waste manager. For example, a municipal waste manager may be faced with a limited budget for education and public participation. Should she spend the funds on waste prevention initiatives with respect to purchasing, with respect to reuse and repair, or on efforts to increase recycling participation?

While there are many interesting questions environmental education, policy engagement and the like raised by these choices, in this instance I am interested in the efficacy of efforts to influence waste-related choices and behaviors and the associated quantitative impact on the waste stream. In simpler terms, how much impact does, for example, a good campaign to increase recycling participation have on actual recycling levels? How long do the effects persist?

So, I am looking for literature that grapples (preferably in quantitative terms )with behavior and waste from this perspective. While studies of individual interventions/initiatives are helpful, what would be of most interest would be research that compares the efficacy of varied approaches or which reviews multiple studies.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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