Hexbyte Glen Cove Improve recycling compliance by using this technique in public service announcements

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A specific messaging strategy used in a public service announcement (PSA) video can effectively encourage New Yorkers who struggle with recycling compliance to properly separate their trash from recycling, according to the results of a University at Buffalo study.

The researchers designed the successful using the theory of planned (TPB), which predicts intention to act on three factors: the extent to which a behavior is seen as favorable; perceived social pressure to perform that behavior; and the perceived difficulty of the behavior.

Intent, however, doesn’t always translate into action. Even with the best intention, people sometimes fail to recycle properly because guidelines in New York State can vary from town to town. To achieve desirable impact, environmental campaigns need to consider what people currently know about recycling, researchers say.

“We found the PSA video to be particularly effective among audiences who have limited knowledge about recycling or those who do not yet engage in proper recycling,” says Zhuling Liu, a UB doctoral candidate who led the research published in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability. “When thinking about approachable messaging, this strategy can be very useful.”

Recycling seems pretty easy: Put the trash in one bin and recyclables in another. But Americans aren’t doing it right. Many items land in the wrong bin.

The National Recycling Partnership estimates that non-recyclables contaminate nearly one-fifth of the material picked up curbside, a problem that can force processing centers to dispose of entire loads, even if most of the material is otherwise acceptable. A in China, which previously handled nearly half of the world’s recyclables, compounds that non-compliance. Starting in 2018, China’s National Sword policy banned the import of recyclable waste from many countries, including the United States.

Americans generally favor recycling, to the extent that they contribute to contamination by “wish-cycling,” according to Liu.

“This wishful recycling refers to the tendency to recycle everything one deems recyclable,” says Liu. “But more often than not, this behavior is increasing costs at recycling facilities that now require additional staff or expensive machinery to sort out contamination.”

These realities have limited the amount of material accepted in some municipalities, while threatening other unprofitable recycling programs with possible elimination.

“A variety of issues and the overall changes in the global market point to the need for a re-education effort about engaging in proper recycling,” says Janet Yang, Ph.D., a professor of communication in the UB College of Arts and Science, and co-author of the study. “Our findings suggest that we’ve found an effective tool for doing so.”

For their study, the researchers asked roughly 700 participants, all New York State residents, to complete an online survey related to recycling behavior. Half of that group watched a 60-second recycling PSA video, and the other half only filled out a questionnaire. Both groups answered questions related to their attitude toward recycling, their perceived social popularity of the behavior, and whether they find recycling to be an easy thing to do. Results indicate that the PSA video was particularly effective in increasing recycling intention among participants who did not feel confident about their own recycling behavior.

Because the sample was limited to New York State, the results are not generalizable across the nation. Still, the PSA video does appear to be a promising tool for increasing awareness and improving environmental engagement.

“This strategic communication messaging delivered through a video format may be particularly effective among individuals who perceive themselves to have limited ability to recycle properly,” says Liu. “That’s a good start.”



More information:
Zhuling Liu et al, Recycling as a planned behavior: the moderating role of perceived behavioral control, Environment, Development and Sustainability (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s10668-021-01894-z

Citation:
Improve recycling compliance by using this t

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Researchers find horserace-style coverage harms Senate candidates' electoral success on either side thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Researchers find horserace-style coverage harms Senate candidates’ electoral success on either side

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Media coverage that focuses on strategy over issues can harm the electoral success of Senate candidates, according to wide-ranging research gauging news coverage of more than 150 Senate races in the United States in recent years.

The new study, published in the Journal Political Communication, focuses on how media coverage affected Senate campaigns over five election cycles between 2008 and 2016. It comes as the high-stakes runoff election in Georgia tips the balance of power in the U.S. for the next four years.

Researchers looked at print media coverage of Senate candidates and its relationship with candidates’ electoral success, focusing on the type of framing prevalent. Using the Lexis-Nexis archive, they looked at coverage in major U.S. newspapers, such as the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as smaller, local outlets. The study’s lead author, assistant professor of communication Dror Walter, said the research included several important and timely findings.

“News coverage heavier on strategy-oriented framing, that is, focusing on the horse-race and personal characteristics at the expense of actual policy, is related to lower electoral success of the covered politician,” Walter said. “We also find that the prevalence of this type of coverage is influenced by the competitiveness of the race, candidates’ past experience, and—for Democratic candidates only—the conservativeness of the state in which they run.”

Walter said one explanation for the findings is that horse-race style coverage or strategy-framing was found in prior studies to induce cynicism and alienation among voters, which could, in turn, reduce their intentions to vote for the candidate.

The study authors also said that while news organizations often try to provide similar coverage of all candidates, the volume and sentiment of coverage can differ greatly between candidates in the same race.

“While there were cases where both candidates were covered with a more strategic frame, there were many more races in which candidates were covered to a very different extent from the strategic point of view,” Walter said. “The benefit of our method is that we assign an estimation of strategy and issue-oriented coverage for each candidate. So, both candidates can have a majority of strategy-oriented coverage, but to a different extent.”

Working with Dr. Yotam Ophir at the University at Buffalo, the research team used machine learning and to examine the coverage of 312 U.S. Senate candidates in 156 races.

“We were able to show how novel computational methods allow researchers to empirically examine important social questions that were not long ago perceived impossible to study,” Ophir said. “This is the main goal of the collaboration we’ve established between our Georgia State and Buffalo labs.”

Using their computational method, the researchers were able to automatically code the news and study a large number of cases.

“Senate elections, especially in some states, tend to gather a lot of , and analyzing such a large number of articles manually is very challenging,” Walter said. “In our case, we wanted to look at 156 Senate races and almost 200,000 articles. Our methodology for computational text analysis enabled us to analyze this very large corpus in a quick and efficient way and address a question that was not examined by past researchers on a large scale.”

The researchers say their methods and findings could lead to more research into how different types of and framing of political races can affect which side wins or loses.

“Senate races are extremely important to the balance of power in American politics, as is evident by these crucial runoff elections in Georgia,” Walter said. “The advantage of Senate races vs. presidential ones is the sheer number of cases, allowing us to draw actual empirical conclusions regarding the factors that shape them.”



More information:
Dror Walter et al. Strategy Framing in News Coverage and Electoral Success: An Analysis of Topic Model Networks Approach, Political Communication (2020). DOI: 10.1080/10584609.2020.1858379

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