UBC Undergraduate Research

How does the presence of a plant influence waste sorting behaviour Op de Beke, Oskar; Luesomboon, Nutkamon; Baek, Brian; Lai, Tiffany; Roh, Jasmine


This study aims to investigate whether the presence of a plant near indoor waste disposal bins impacts correct waste sorting. We hypothesized that participants exposed to a plant, as opposed to those in the control conditions, will have a higher percentage of items sorted correctly into disposal bins. By employing a convenience sampling method, we included 167 participants in our study. We observed participants in one of the following conditions: a no-object control condition, a green flag control condition, and a plant condition. During the observation, we recorded the total number of items each participant disposed in each bin, as well as the number of items correctly and incorrectly sorted. Contrary to our hypothesis, the plant did not significantly improve waste sorting when compared to control conditions. Participants in the plant condition had the lowest average percentage of items sorted correctly, followed by those in the no-object condition and then the green flag control condition. However, mean comparison and marginal significance point to the possibility that a green flag may improve waste sorting. Implications and recommendations for UBC regarding the application of the plant and the flag are also discussed. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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