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J Appl Behav Anal. 1973 Winter;6(4):579-86.

Positive reinforcement of litter removal in the natural environment.

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Utah State University.


Litter is an especially large and costly problem in unsupervised high-use recreational areas. This study investigated procedures to induce visitors to remove litter from an unsupervised U.S. Forest Service area in which signs attached to two litter stations instructed people to pick up and deposit litter. A small sum of money or chances on a larger sum given for participation usually resulted in more bags of litter being picked up per week. Although only a small proportion of the area's users participated in the project, ground surveys indicated the areas sampled were somewhat freer of litter during the payment condition. The results suggest that small monetary rewards may be a promising approach to litter control in unsupervised as well as supervised areas.


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