Independent Research

Addressing Barriers to Recycling: Insights From an Intervention and Survey on a University Campus in Qatar

  • Zoya Farooqui (CMU)
  • Masooma Zehra (CMU-Q)
  • Jennifer Bruder (CMU)


This study employed mixed methods to understand and improve recycling behavior at Carnegie Mellon University’s campus in Doha, Qatar. Waste audits from the university’s general waste and recycling bins were recorded and contamination rates (i.e. sorting errors) in recycling bins were determined. A campus-wide survey assessed attitudes and reported behaviors related to recycling on campus. The survey was used to inform the content of a student-led intervention that included social influence and education. Overall, waste audits revealed poor recycling behavior and the survey revealed a lack of awareness and distrust of recycling policies at the university. The intervention did not lead to improvements in the amount of material recycled. These findings are discussed against the background of education, awareness, and social influence and provide several suggestions for future research.

Keywords: recycling, intervention, sustainability, university, survey

Published on
27 Sep 2023
Peer Reviewed