Designing Waste Disposal Signage for Maximum Impact

URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2018.07.009

This 2018 article reports on three experiments exploring the impact of waste disposal signage design on disposal behavior. Conclusions:

  1. Icons and pictures are better than words
  2. Consistent ordering of signs improves performance
  3. Permitted-only signs are as good, or better, than permitted and prohibited signs
  4. Attention to the perception of environmental cues can improve impacts.

Despite the ubiquity of waste disposal in urban environments, there is little standardization of receptacle or signage design within and across jurisdictions. In three experiments, we explored the impact of waste disposal signage design on disposal behavior. Specifically, we were interested in two primary questions in signage design: 1) what type of waste disposal information should be presented; and 2) how the information should be presented. We found that signs containing either icons or pictures of permitted items improved sorting performance compared to signs containing only words of the items; consistent positioning of the signs improved sorting performance compared to random positions for both pictures and icons; and presenting both permitted and prohibited items can interfere with performance when the signs are icons. The current study provides experimental evidence to demonstrate that the design of waste disposal signage can impact waste sorting performance in meaningful ways and highlights the need for graphical signage and bin standardization.

Topics: Environment:, Waste:, composting of, household hazardous waste, recycling of, reducing of, reusing of
Resource Type: strategies and interventions
Publisher: Journal of Environmental Psychology
Date Last Updated: 2021-07-22 10:45:44

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