In order to effectively reach individuals within an area, it is good to develop
norms that make recycling a typical and necessary activity within a community. In order for norms to be effective they have to be visible to the community that you are trying to reach. People must know others are engaging in the behavior for this to be influential. Using personal contacts to reinforce norms is helpful.
Even though the “norms” tool is not used often it can have a great impact. For instance, if you observe someone you like or respect doing an activity you are more likely to want to do that same activity. In order for norms to be effective it is necessary that the behavior be internalized and perceived as the way one “should” behave. An example of norms would be an Adopt-A-Highway program that shows ownership and concern for the environment. Another example of using norms is a word of mouth marketing campaign.
Srijana, from the town of Cary, talks about the role of a block leader within a community. Recycling block leaders act as a liaison between residents and the local recycling office. They are a great way to increase curbside recycling participation by establishing a norm for recycling in their neighborhoods.
North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance