UBC Undergraduate Research

Effects of visual prompts on coffee cup and plastic bag disposal : research project final report Xing, Aimee; Lai, Edward; Jin, Jason; Choi, Marco; Qing, Wanhui


In this class research project, we explored the usage of visual prompts in correct disposal of garbage, paper, recyclables, and food scraps. We focused our project on the distribution of coffee cups and plastic bags in the sorting bins at the Sauder Exchange Café and Forestry bins near Tim Hortons. Accordingly, our research question was “Do prompts such as “no coffee cup” and “no plastic bag” stickers impact coffee cup and plastic bag contamination in the wrong bins?” and we predicted that the percentage of correct throws of coffee cups and plastic bags would improve after applying the stickers on top of the sorting bins. We conducted an experimental groups design, using naturalistic observation to monitor participants. We measured the percentage of correct disposal of coffee cups and plastic bags before and after adding the prompts. In addition, we observed the percentage of correct disposals of all the other bins to see if prompts had an indirect effect on where a participant would throw their disposals. In the end, we found no significant results in our primary research question but we found some significant results in the general disposal. 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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