London, April 6 : A new research has suggested that short streets that have fewer than 15 houses encourage recycling schemes, while there is an absent of such initiatives on longer streets.
According to a report in New Scientist, Peter Shaw, A researcher from the University of Southampton, UK, conducted the research.
Shaw focused his study on a part of London where kerbside recycling is available to 90% of households and practiced to some extent by up to 81%, but where just 9% of waste gets recycled.
He first collected data on the distribution of households that did recycle. Then he used a computer model to generate a random distribution of recycling households.
"Any non-random clusters of houses are those where neighbours influence each other's behaviour," he said.
What Shaw found out was that on a typical long street, urban citizens are unaffected by peer pressure. That's the reason why on linear blocks of 15 or more houses, non-random clusters of recycling households were rare or absent.
The situation was slightly different in shorter streets of fewer than 15 houses. The shorter the street, the more neighbours appeared to behave in the same way.
"There seems to be an influence of street architecture on the community," said Shaw.
The results suggested that "recycling champion" schemes, where individuals are encouraged to lead by example, could work well in certain neighbourhoods, specially the ones with dead-end streets.
According to the report, making recycling mandatory or having schemes that reward people for recycling could be more effective elsewhere.