Around 900,000 tons of waste is generated annually in Georgia and more than 75 percent ends up in landfill sites, increasing pollution and posing long-lasting threats to the environment and human health. Georgia’s 2016-2030 National Strategy on Waste Management outlines concrete steps to lead the country to sustainable waste management policies and practices. Georgia is committing to recycling 50 percent of its plastic waste by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030.
Involving residents in waste separation practices is one of the important goals towards this strategy.
In 2021, BISC Partners, in partnership UNDP Accelerator Lab, implemented a pilot project to encourage the disposal of plastic waste in the population. Based on the findings of the behavioral sciences and delivery of integrated communications campaign, the project aimed at:
- Designing and arranging the relevant physical infrastructure;
- Creation and observation of those behavioral stimuli in the population which could increase the amount of sorted plastics.
In addition, as part of the project, BISC Partners designed and administered RCT experiment to test the interventions for behavior change (in this case, developing new behaviors).
Based on international best practices and our own research, as well as using relevant Behavior Change Principles, BISC Partners developed two types of communication messages that were phased in through various communication channels.
At the end of the pilot project, based on the regression analysis of the collected data, we found that the interventions designed to change the behavior had a positive impact on the final outcome. In particular, the quality of the collected waste reached an average of 80%, which is a 60% improvement compared to the pre-intervention data. This result was due to the design of the infrastructure based on the behavioral insights, as well as the content and structure of the communication messages used.
Bases on the aforementioned experimental exercise, BISC Partners developed recommendations on scale-up and future experiments.