Interactions between fixed and mobile recycling facilities: Do personal norms matter?

Last registered on February 03, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Interactions between fixed and mobile recycling facilities: Do personal norms matter?
Initial registration date
December 08, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 09, 2020, 10:53 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
February 03, 2021, 11:26 PM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


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Primary Investigator

Universidad de Talca, Chile

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universidad del Bío-Bío
PI Affiliation
Universidad de Concepción
PI Affiliation
Universidad de Talca

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Local governments in middle-income countries have promoted the installation of containers to increase the collection of materials with potential for recycling. However, the level of collected materials is still very low, and concerns on the cleanness of the neighborhood’s surroundings due to misuse of recycling containers have emerged. The objective of this research is to evaluate the impact of a set of alternative policy instruments aimed at encouraging participation in recycling schemes by urban households. In particular, we are interested in studying the effect of the provision of a curbside collection system on the recycling of plastic and waste sorting by households once fixed containers are available. Special attention is given to the interactions between both types of infrastructure. Also, we explore whether appealing to personal norms has a reinforcement effect on the recycling of plastic and waste sorting. The study will be carried out in the city of Osorno, in southern Chile, with the support of the local Municipality, and with the collaboration of the leading recycling company in the city. We will collect information on recycling material two times per week for a set of containers previously installed in two similar sectors, over 18 months. Finally, we will conduct ex-ante and ex-post surveys to gather household-level data in the proximity of the infrastructure. This intervention will provide valuable insights regarding the effects of these instruments on the disposal of plastics in the urban residential setting.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Trujillo, Francisca et al. 2021. "Interactions between fixed and mobile recycling facilities: Do personal norms matter? ." AEA RCT Registry. February 03.
Experimental Details


This study aims at evaluating the effects of the provision of mobile recycling facilities on plastic recycling and sorting. In addition, we will explore whether the provision of information appealing to personal norms reinforces this later effect. The intervention will consist on the implementation of a mobile recycling service (curbside collection system) once the fixed recycling infrastructure is already in place. Thereby, special attention is given to the interaction between mobile and fixed recycling infrastructure, and the extent to which information with value-laded content plays a role in boosting residential recycling among households.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
(1) Amount of waste recovered for recycling in kilograms per period (units of observation are polygons defined by fixed recycling stations), and (2) Percentage of incorrectly classified material present in the recollected waste (i.e., non-recyclable waste).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This project consists of the design and implementation of a randomized field experiment targeting two neighborhoods of Osorno city, in southern Chile. Our intervention is administered in three stages. The first stage considers the implementation of a baseline scenario consisting of the provision of fixed recycling infrastructure/stations in two selected neighborhoods. One of these neighborhoods will be regarded as treatment, and the other as a control. In each neighborhood, there will be one container of mixed materials (i.e., plastics, cardboard, glass) and eight plastic bottle bins, totalizing nine containers per neighborhood and eighteen containers in total. This fixed infrastructure will be installed on the streets of the two neighborhoods, and a specific location of recycling stations will follow a systematic procedure that considers the division of each neighborhood into smaller areas (i.e., polygons). Thus, households will be linked to a particular recycling station through these predetermined zones. The baseline stage will be carried out for six months and, in this period, we will collect information on the amount of recovered plastic waste and the percentage of waste incorrectly sorted, with a temporal frequency of two times per week. In the 6th month, a household survey will be conducted in order to gather households’ characteristics, perceptions, and motivations about recycling, the amount of waste generated in the household, and the use of containers for recycling, among other variables. The second stage considers the implementation of the curbside recycling collection service in the treatment neighborhood, whilst the control neighborhood will remain with only fixed infrastructure. In this phase, there will be mobile and fixed infrastructure at the same time. This phase will take place for another six months so that the first and second stages altogether will be completed in one year. The third stage, starting from month 12, consists of an information campaign targeting households in the treated neighborhood. This intervention consists of the provision of normative information appealing to personal norms. In contrast, households in the control neighborhood will be provided with the same (plane) information they were given in the first and second stages. Finally, an ex-post survey will be carried out at the end of this stage.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Polygons (areas defined by fixed infrastructure)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We have 18 polygons (areas defined by fixed infrastructure)
Sample size: planned number of observations
2808 (1404 in control area and 1404 in treatment area)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
9 polygons in control area and 9 polygons in treatment area
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Assuming a statistical power of 80%, the minimum detectable effect for our total sample of 2,808 collections is 3.8%.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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