Constraints to promoting people centred approaches in recycling
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Public participation is considered the touchstone for the success of recycling schemes. In recognition of this, the trend in recycling policy and legislation is geared towards promoting people centred approaches in recycling with public education as the main driver towards increasing public participation. Most of the time, these initiatives do not take into consideration the perceptions and attitudes of the key stakeholders of municipal officials and the public towards waste recycling schemes. These perceptions and attitudes appear equivocal. This paper highlights the potential constraints to promoting people centred approaches in recycling and recommends some strategies that could mitigate them. The paper is based on a case of Gaborone and used household and key-informant interviews. The study found that, even though municipal officials in Gaborone are aware of the potential benefits of recycling, they appear not to embrace waste management reforms such as municipally organised recycling schemes amid their limited knowledge in organising such schemes. In addition, the study found that even though the public are aware of recycling, this does not necessarily translate into participation in recycling initiatives. Other factors such as limited economic direct economic incentives and absence of ‘visible’ recycling centres were found to limit participation in recycling initiatives. Further, the public are biased towards separating materials for recycling that have known markets and are of significant financial value. The paper concludes that while public education is important to raise awareness and enhance public participation in recycling, in Gaborone, such education must be complemented by direct incentives targeted to the participating public. To this end, the paper proposes a multi-stakeholder approach to recycling initiatives that involve NGOs, households, the private and public sectors to mitigate some of the above constraints.