Recycling behavior in the home environment: A comparative approach between Daegu, South Korea and Lubbock, Texas, United States



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In 2005, Americans generated about 245.7 million tons of solid waste (USEPA, 2008). Hattam (2005) mentioned that only 30% of the waste is recycled and most trash is produced from households. Oskamp et al. (1991) suggested that one vital method to reduce solid waste is recycling in the household. Thus, interior designers can play a vital role of increasing recycling by designing areas for recycling in homes.

The purpose of this research is to first, investigate the readiness to recycle in the home environment, and second, design an appropriate location for bins for recycling to promote recycling behavior, and finally, identify an appropriate design for bins for recycling to also promote recycling behavior. The intention of comparing two cultures is to evaluate recycling behavior in the home environment from two distinct settings to understand the reasons why people’s behaviors towards recycling are different. The results will help designers implement recycling in homes and create a recycling environment within the community.
A quantitative research approach was used in this investigation to identify how people perceive the idea of recycling in their homes in two different cities, Daegu, South Korea and Lubbock, Texas, United States. A total sample of 200, which consists of 100 samples from Daegu and 100 samples from Lubbock were used.

The questionnaire for this study was developed to research how people perceive the idea of recycling in their homes in order to determine the most convenient area to place bins for recycling in homes and the design of the recycling bin to promote recycling behavior. The responses were then analyzed using frequency distribution, analysis, percentages, bivariate correlations, and ANOVA using SPSS Statistical Package.

Some results and correlations between the two cities corresponded to one another and some differed. Conclusions were examined with the determinants of household waste recycling as outlined in the literature review. Other correlations were also formulated to understand the relationship between recycling behavior and categories including socio-demographics, psychological aspects of recycling behavior, recycling activity, and location and design of recycling bin.

This study demonstrated the readiness of individuals to recycle in the home environment as many factors directly corresponded to recycling behavior. Also, the comparison of the two cities supported that the determinants of household recycling behavior are closely congruent multi-nationally. In addition, the study of two distinct cultures clearly portrayed that the location for bins for recycling is distinct and clear for each culture as it relates to their home environment.

Overall, the results of this study have proven to be valuable, but limitations exist as these samples cannot be used to generalize the entire South Korean and American culture. Even so, the outcome of this study can be used for future research activities that investigate how the determinants of household recycling behavior identified in this study relate to household recycling behaviors in other cultures.



Environment, Home, Recycling