Does teaching school children about recycling reduce household waste?

Produced by: 
Available from: 
February 2020
Paper author(s): 
Claes Ek
Magnus Söderberg
Topic: 
Education - Health
Environmental Economics
Year: 
2020

Reduced waste generation is a prioritized environmental policy objective in the EU as well as worldwide. We perform a randomized controlled trial in Sweden with school children aged 10-16 to evaluate an intervention designed to reduce household waste, Environmental Education Programs (EEP). Crucially, we are able to examine the causal effect of a wastethemed EEP on the actual waste generated in households where a child was treated. This is done by coupling the addresses of participating students with high-resolution address-level panel data on collected waste amounts, supplied by municipal waste authorities. Our design allows identification of the differential effect of the EEP on waste generation in treated versus control households. We find no significant evidence that the intervention had any effect on waste generation. There is also no indication that this null result is due to interference between treated and control students.

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