Off-Campus Students' Recycling Habits and Barriers to Recycling

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Sciences


Guang Jin

Mentor Department

Health Sciences


This research aimed to determine both recycling habits and barriers to recycling of off campus students at Illinois State University. An online survey was designed to collected information about demographics of the participants, their living situations and basic knowledge and opinion about recycling, and finally their accessibility to recycling. This survey was created using Google Forms and sent out to students in two ISU classes including a general education class and Facebook Group pages for two student clubs. A total of 140 volunteers participated, spanned all colleges within the university, and represented an overall response rate of 93.3%. Data was analyzed through univariate and bivariate analysis with Epi Info. and Excel. The biggest obstacle to recycling reported by students was the lack of recycling options offered nearby, with only 7.14% of participants reporting that their leasing company offers recycling in or next to their housing complex. Although only 24% of participants identify as active recyclers, the survey showed that 73.6% of participants agree that recycling is important. Because many students think recycling is important, it is likely that recycling rates would improve if there were recycling options near their residence. In fact, students are 71% more likely to be active recyclers if their leasing company offers recycling on-site. Therefore, it is recommended that leasing companies begin to offer recycling options on-site for their tenants. Additionally, participants reported that the second largest obstacle to recycling was lack of knowledge about recyclable items. To address this, there should be more education and labeling aimed at making recycling decisions easier for students.



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