Professor Marie Harder is currently a China National Thousand Talents Professor based at Fudan University in Shanghai, one of the top five universities in China, where she was invited to set up an international level group from scratch in an area of need in sustainable development over five years.
Her choice: residential food waste separation. Shanghai’s population of 23 million consists of 25,000 gated communities, each with their own waste station: this sets the stage for of multiple experimental interventions in behaviour change. Over the last three years Marie has worked to systematically explore determinants of behaviour change as food waste separation systems are rolled out, and to draw generalizable lessons from the plethora of case studies in waste management and investigations of narrow sets of parameters in social psychology, with the aim of producing clear advice and handbooks for NGOs and local groups to facilitate behaviour change.
The project has shown that typical governmental implementation of policy by ‘informing residents’ is ineffective for food waste recycling, and much more complex and subtle behavioural change concepts need to be invoked.
A draft framework of 13 ‘domains’ of behaviour determinants has been developed which allows practitioners to more effectively plan successful programs. This is being tested by an NGO in one part of Shanghai, China and will start to be piloted more widely in one district shortly.
Dai Y.C., Gordon, M.P.R., Ye J.Y., Xu D.Y., Lin Z.Y., Robinson N.K.L., Woodard R., Harder M.K. 2015. Why doorstepping can increase household waste recycling. Resources, Conservation and Recycling (in print).
Wenfang Huanga, Jie Wanga, Xingyi Daia, Mingran Lia, Marie K. Harder 2014. More than financial investment is needed: food waste recycling pilots in Shanghai, ChinaJournal of Cleaner Production Volume 67, 15, Pages 107–116