Park Trash Cans (08-19-21)

Van Doesumand colleagues studied how signage and trash can location influence at-park littering.  They determined that “Moving waste receptacles from the interior to the exits of a park makes waste collection more efficient. . . . we removed all waste receptacles from within an urban park and placed them at the exits in three consecutive field studies. . . .  litter levels increased from initial baseline. . . . However, adding a psychological intervention in the form of [signs in the park with] watching animal [cat or owl] eyes reversed this effect and made for a slightly cleaner environment. . . . meta-analysis suggests that watching eyes are better at reducing antisocial behavior than at increasing prosocial behavior (Dear et al., 2019).  That littering is often seen as antisocial supports the idea that watching eyes in the park contributed to the litter decrease. . . . a combination of watching eyes and no waste receptacles within the confines of the park helped to decrease litter levels.”

Niels Van Doesum, Arianne van der Wal, Christine Boomsma, and Henk Staats.  “Aesthetics and Logistics in Urban Parks;  Can Moving Waste Receptacles to Park Exits Decrease Littering?”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, 101669,