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All About the Money: A Cultural Analysis of Financial Incentives as a Motivator for Improved Household Waste Separation

Oosterwijk, Anne LU (2015) TKAM02 20151
Division of Ethnology
Abstract
In the Netherlands it is very common to separate household waste inside the home. In several Dutch municipalities a financial incentive system has been implemented that is intended to motivate residents to manage and separate household waste more efficiently. The system has shown to give good results when evaluated in terms of the amount of collected household
waste. However, no research exists on how it works in everyday life; how does it affect people’s attitudes and motivations to manage their waste. With this thesis, I aim to create an understanding of how financial incentives work as a motivator for improved household separation from an everyday perspective. Based on material from a four months long fieldwork project for a waste... (More)
In the Netherlands it is very common to separate household waste inside the home. In several Dutch municipalities a financial incentive system has been implemented that is intended to motivate residents to manage and separate household waste more efficiently. The system has shown to give good results when evaluated in terms of the amount of collected household
waste. However, no research exists on how it works in everyday life; how does it affect people’s attitudes and motivations to manage their waste. With this thesis, I aim to create an understanding of how financial incentives work as a motivator for improved household separation from an everyday perspective. Based on material from a four months long fieldwork project for a waste management and collection company in the summer of 2014 in the Netherlands, I investigate and analyse the effects of the so-called Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT)-system that has been implemented in the municipality of Steenwijkerland. To gain a fuller understanding, a comparative study was also undertaken in the municipality of Zwolle, which does not have any financial incentives implemented. The study utilised ethnographic research methods such as semi-structured interviews with residents and observations of residents in their homes, to investigate their attitudes and practices regarding household waste in relation to financial incentives. Exploring these attitudes and practices, the thesis constructs a theoretical framework of labelling and categorisation systems to identify the primary factors involved in household waste separation in the two investigated field sites. The cultural categories of monetary value and hygiene, for example, turned out to be highly influential and
I argue that these categories can work both as a motivator and a cultural barrier to improved household waste separation. Based on these arguments, suggestions are given on how to use these for the benefit of waste management companies and municipalities that wish to implement financial incentives in the future. (Less)
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author
Oosterwijk, Anne LU
supervisor
organization
course
TKAM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
MACA, cultural barriers, waste management, source separation, waste, financial incentives, recycling, cultural categories
language
English
id
7364075
date added to LUP
2015-06-17 11:33:04
date last changed
2015-06-18 14:04:28
@misc{7364075,
  abstract     = {In the Netherlands it is very common to separate household waste inside the home. In several Dutch municipalities a financial incentive system has been implemented that is intended to motivate residents to manage and separate household waste more efficiently. The system has shown to give good results when evaluated in terms of the amount of collected household
waste. However, no research exists on how it works in everyday life; how does it affect people’s attitudes and motivations to manage their waste. With this thesis, I aim to create an understanding of how financial incentives work as a motivator for improved household separation from an everyday perspective. Based on material from a four months long fieldwork project for a waste management and collection company in the summer of 2014 in the Netherlands, I investigate and analyse the effects of the so-called Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT)-system that has been implemented in the municipality of Steenwijkerland. To gain a fuller understanding, a comparative study was also undertaken in the municipality of Zwolle, which does not have any financial incentives implemented. The study utilised ethnographic research methods such as semi-structured interviews with residents and observations of residents in their homes, to investigate their attitudes and practices regarding household waste in relation to financial incentives. Exploring these attitudes and practices, the thesis constructs a theoretical framework of labelling and categorisation systems to identify the primary factors involved in household waste separation in the two investigated field sites. The cultural categories of monetary value and hygiene, for example, turned out to be highly influential and
I argue that these categories can work both as a motivator and a cultural barrier to improved household waste separation. Based on these arguments, suggestions are given on how to use these for the benefit of waste management companies and municipalities that wish to implement financial incentives in the future.},
  author       = {Oosterwijk, Anne},
  keyword      = {MACA,cultural barriers,waste management,source separation,waste,financial incentives,recycling,cultural categories},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {All About the Money: A Cultural Analysis of Financial Incentives as a Motivator for Improved Household Waste Separation},
  year         = {2015},
}