Many environmental issues are putting pressure on the planet and societies around the world. Climate change, global warming, and plastic pollution are just a few of the problems that catch people’s attention nowadays. As they threaten the security of life and food on Earth, urgent solutions are needed.
Today, we are going to be exploring recycling behaviour at university. About 2 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide, and only about 9% of the plastic produced in the world is recycled. This means that the great majority of plastic items end up in landfills, where they contaminate the soil, the plants, and the entire nature. As particles of microplastics were found in meat, vegetables, and even in the blood of newborns, taking urgent measures is needed.
Sorting the garbage so that the plastic gets recycled could solve a big part of the problem and prevent plastic items from ending up in nature and landfills. Recycling behaviour can be encouraged within universities and neighbourhoods alike. Some factors affect the recycling behaviour of students and we will explore them in the following lines.
Framing the Message
Considering the fact that climate change and all the other environmental issues are becoming more and more pressing, recycling is one of the most used solutions. Of course, it is not the only one that can solve the issue, but it is contributing positively. Youngsters are the ones that keep themselves updated with the news of the field, as Gen Z is the one who started the Fridays for Future movement. They are the ones who might comply the most with the behaviours each has to adopt for a healthier planet.
However, the recycling behaviour in universities might be affected by certain factors. And one of them is the way the message is framed. Everyone understands that recycling is a habit each has to adapt to. But even with this high awareness on the subject, some might simply choose to not recycle. Why? Studies have shown that if the message is framed positively, college students are more inclined to recycle and sort the garbage.
This means that the benefits associated with recycling have to be highlighted. However, other studies have shown that negative framing works too. It is crucial to keep in mind that negative framing of all the issues and solutions that are connected to the environment might not work forever. As people have a finite pool of worry, they will stop ignoring the problem or the message. Which, of course, is not beneficial for the planet. So, it seems that there should be a perfect mix of positive and negative framing.
We can see a lot of messages that urge students not only to recycle for a better tomorrow. But are they truly effective? Well, they are but depending on what you want the receiver of the message to do.
College students have hectic schedules and they always run between classes. They learn, study, write a personal statement essay, and many more. But writing an essay might not be a piece of cake for all students, which might start to stress and overwhelm them. You can get personal statement help from professionals and submit the ideal personal statement essay. Which will make your heart lighter and you could focus on adopting eco-friendly habits.
The way you convey the message combined with the intended reaction could encourage students to recycle more. If you want students to recycle, you should highlight what they lose if they don’t do it today. And underline what they will gain tomorrow if they are recycling today. The temporality of the message is essential and it could make a difference.
Another factor and maybe one of the most important ones is social influence. We are sociable human beings and we want to fit in. Well, it seems that exactly this deep desire humans have can make them recycle. Studies have shown that if family members are recycling, students will do the same. The same goes for the social influence exercised by friends, and peers online.
The recycling behaviour at university is not at an ideal level and we still have a long way to go. However, understanding the factors that affect and influence it could lead to better solutions. It is essential to know how to convey the message so that youngsters are persuaded into sorting and recycling. Social influence plays a special role and maybe some gamification solutions would work wonders.
Bio lines: Evelyn Montoy is a content writer and blogger. She is an Earth lover and wants to protect it, so she has founded an environmental NGO. Evelyn loves hiking and photographing plants.