Waste Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for those involved with waste management. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.


Latest News

May 6, 2021  New Resources Added in this Topic Category
We've added four new Topic Resources this past year. You can see them in the right hand column below.

Most Recent Waste Reduction Case Studies

Landmark Case Study LEED  EnvironmentHealth

2019 Youtube Program Update Video from USGBC

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a tremendously successful program that engages builders and owners in designing, building, selling / buying and operating more energy-efficient buildings. It awards points for meeting targets and doing targeted behaviors like benchmarking and tracking energy and water consumption, using specific types of materials, and recycling waste materials. It has become the most used green building rating system out there, adopted in more than 150 countries and territories worldwide. The program received Landmark designation in 2015.

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Alameda’s Green Purchasing Program  Environment

This innovative green purchasing program engaged hundreds of event planners and over 18,000 event participants to build a new county culture of sustainable and healthy gatherings in Alameda County, California. In only six weeks, its promotion competition enrolled 192 events and meetings, reaching over 9,200 attendees with model green & healthy practices.

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Recycle Right  Environment

Bankstown, Australia tested a range of options for reducing waste contamination. 

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Recycle-Bowl: Competition Fosters School Recycling  Environment

Keep America Beautiful created a competition called Recycle-Bowl that uses the Tools of Change to encourage recycling behavior in K-12 schools. The program has been successful at invigorating school development of and participation in recycling programs.

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Compost Coaching: House-Calls Help Reduce Waste  Environment

This case study is a great model for increasing composting rates, reducing waste generation and reducing tonnages placed curbside for collection through coaching. It also reports on a study of diversion rates from backyard composting that showed that diversion from backyard composting is usually under-estimated.

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Boosting Recycling at U. of A.  Environment

A great model of applying CBSM to increase participation in campus in campus recyling programs. The University of Alberta's program increased diversion 8-24% and reduced plastic contamination of organics by 16%.

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UGA Recycling Bin Feedback  Environment

The University of Georgia, funded by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, designed and tested a recycling bin that lit up and displayed a count with the number of items that had been placed into the bin. The bins with feedback increased recycling rates significantly.

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Backyard Composting in Langley B.C.  Environment

Two webinars are currently available that document this program.

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Fork It Over!  EnvironmentHealth

Fork it Over! is a peer-to-peer initiative that helps food businesses in Portland Oregon to donate surplus prepared, perishable foods that have not been served, by showing that it is safe, simple and the right thing to do. It recruits food businesses to make written, public commitments to donate food regularly, reinforces and publicizes those commitments, and prompts action at the moment when donations are available. It also leverages partnership support from key industry leaders and associations to reinforce the social and cultural value of food donation, and provides regular reinforcement for participating through free advertising.

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Claremont  Environment

To find effective ways to increase public participation in recycling, two studies were undertaken in the City of Claremont, California. In each case, trained volunteers went door-to-door contacting members of non-recycling households. Two approaches were tried -one using Boy Scouts, and the other using neighbours as volunteers.

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The Great Strathcona Exchange  Environment

Strathcona County organizes an annual one-day waste exchange. Staffed largely by volunteers, this free event enables people to return serviceable appliances, furniture, or other large household items to useful service by making them available for others to reuse.

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Norway Public School Litterless Lunch  Environment

Students eating lunch at Norway Public School were exposed to an ongoing Litterless Lunch program - one that involved the participation of parents and made use of student monitors. In addition, there was an emphasis on recycling and composting throughout the school.

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Quinte Waste Solutions and History of the Blue Box in Canada  Environment

To encourage people to reduce the amount of curbside waste going to land fills, a range of waste diversion programs were introduced in the Centre and South Hastings Region of Ontario and Prince Edward County, including backyard composting, expanded Blue Box recycling, reducing and properly disposing of household hazardous waste, and a user-pay system. The notes section tells the history of the Blue Box in Canada.

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Zehr's  Environment

A campaign at a Zehr's store in Kitchener, Ontario, reminded customers to buy products which used less packaging, were more concentrated and safer for the environment. Some customers were asked to make a commitment to purchase "green" alternatives and to watch an in-store information video showing other people making their decision to buy "green."

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User Pay for Residential Waste Pickup in Ontario (Research Alert)  Environment

This research alert, reprinted from an article in Solid Waste and Recycling Magazine, provides an overview of the growth of user-pay for residential waste pickup in Ontario, including pricing. It was written by Maria Kelleher and John Dixie Enviros-RIS, based on surveys they conducted.

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Most Recent Waste Reduction Resources

Reducing Food Waste by Promoting Ugly Fruit  Environment

Food waste and associated greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by helping consumers embrace "ugly fruit", which is typically equivalent nutritionally to regular fruit. Read on for guidance on how to do this.

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Resources for Those at the Intersection of Behavior and the Environment  Environment

This page highlights RARE's resources for those at the intersection of behavior and the environment.

  • Behavior Change Interventions in Practice: A Synthesis of Criteria, Approaches, Case Studies, and Indicators.
  • The Science of Changing Behavior for Environmental Outcomes: A Literature Review.
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U.B.C. Campus Sustainability Engagement and Social Marketing Strategy - Review of Related Research and Similar Programs  Environment

This 2013 literature review summarizes behavioral barriers, benefits and interventions related to campus / institutional energy, water and waste-related behaviors.


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A History of Household Recycling in Canada and the USA  Environment

History of household blue box recycling in Canada, UK, USA, and elsewhere. 

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Food Waste: From measurement to management  Environment

This 2019 document provides a much-needed framework for managing food waste, including food surplus, food loss and food waste.It also provides an overview of the literature on drivers of in-home food waste and translate them into guidelines for effective intervention development.

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Recycled Self (, The): Consumers' disposal decisions of identity-linked products  Environment

When an everyday product (e.g., paper, cups, aluminum cans) is linked to a consumer's identity it is less likely to be trashed and more likely to be recycled. Further, the tendency to recycle an identity-linked product increases with the strength and positivity of the connection between the consumer and product (or brand). (2016)

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Program Impact Attribution  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This document provides a brief summary of options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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Impact of Comics vs Photographs on Knowledge, Attitude and Behavioural Intentions  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This 2017 study compares two modes of visually presenting information  - one using photographs and the other using cartoons - on audience's knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions.

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Illegal Dumping Research Report  Environment

This research report explores the motivations of people who dump waste illegally, and the influential factors which may bring about a change in behaviour among these groups of people. This research provides a benchmark for monitoring changes in attitudes, behaviours and experiences relating to illegal dumping.

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Guides from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities  Environment

Provides guides, reports, toolkits and videos to help build stronger municipalities, with resources covering Affordable Housing, Energy, Low Carbon, Transportation Land use, Waste, Water, Women in government

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Fostering a Sustainable Future  EnvironmentSafety

Includes a guide to community-based social marketing, and sections with articles, brief case studies, graphic examples, and an archived listserv.

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A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level  Environment

This 2020 report summarizes a consensus study by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine of ways to reduce U.S. food waste at the consumer level. Approximately 30 percent of the edible food produced in the United States is wasted and a significant portion of this waste occurs at the consumer level.

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Community Toolbox  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Includes many annotated links to other web-based resources supporting social marketing and social change

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Designing Waste Disposal Signage for Maximum Impact  Environment

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.
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Food Recovery Network  EnvironmentHealth

Food Recovery Network is a national nonprofit that unites students at colleges and universities to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from their campus’ dining halls and donating it to those in need. Its goal is to change the norm from food waste to food recovery - resulting in the recovery of surplus food to feed everyone who is hungry in the U.S. Read More »

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