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2019-04-02 | Peer Reviewed

Encouraging urban households to segregate the waste they generate: Insights from a field experiment in Delhi, India.

Wadehra, S., & Mishra, A. (2018) Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 134, 239-247.
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Despite the Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM), 2016 stating that waste generators should segregate their waste before it is collected; most households in Delhi continue to be non-compliant. We conduct a study in 15 localities of Delhi to understand whether information, norms and economic incentive would have an effect on households’ compliance to rules. The study uses field experiments to elicit the impact of the interventions. We find that even low cost interventions such as information on segregation and its benefits are effective in changing household waste segregation behaviour. We also find that a combination of information and economic incentives play an important role in inducing the households to begin segregation at source. The efficacy of incentive highlights the importance of defining a differential user fee - lesser amount for those who segregate and a higher amount for those who do not segregate. The field observations also show that the garbage collector could nullify the actions of the household, thus highlighting the importance of educating the garbage collector as well. Our findings can inform Municipal officials and agencies involved in collection and transportation of waste, to induce households to segregate at source.