Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Geography and the Environment

First Advisor

Matthew Taylor, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Andrew Goetz

Third Advisor

Donald G. Sullivan

Fourth Advisor

Charles Reichardt


Composting, Environmental behavior, New ecological paradigm, Recycling, Self reported habit index, Waste management


Non-recycling and non-composting of municipal solid waste have important natural resource management implications, in that they both reduce energy, water, and raw natural resource use. Responsible waste management also likely has positive climate impacts by virtue of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling and composting are pro-environmental behaviors that have been shown to be influenced by numerous socio-demographic and psychological factors. This study analyzes the correlation of a number of variables with frequency of recycling and composting in select census tracts in Denver, CO, USA, with the goals of informing waste management policy and contributing to the overall pro-environmental behavior literature. The results show that habit strength as quantified by the Self-Reported Habit Index has the strongest correlation with both recycling and composting behavior. Overall, waste management policy should focus on influencing habit formation, using literature to dissuade residents from placing plastic bags into recycling bins, and consider charging a minimal fee for recycling.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Dan Kasper


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

181 p.


Behavioral sciences, Natural resource management, Geography