Design and management of recycling facilities for household and community recycling participation

Kin Wai Michael Siu, Jia Xin Xiao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper aims to address convenience as a prominent feature of a scheduled society and examines the nature of convenience, identifies the waste collection system and recycling programmes in some densely populated areas in Asia and discusses the existing barriers to enhancing the convenience of the recycling facilities in Hong Kong. The paper further identifies some recommendations for the policy and design of recycling practices and facilities. Design/methodology/approach - In this qualitative study, two districts in Hong Kong from 2013 to 2014 were used as case studies. The research methods included field observations, semi-structured interviews and ethnographic research. The locations for field observation included lobbies, corridors, lifts, ground floors and streets. Direct interviews were conducted with residents, cleaners, government officials and expert planners and environmentalists. In-depth interviews and observations were conducted with six families following the interviews to identify important issues that might have been ignored in the semi-structured interviews and field observations. Findings - A holistic understanding of convenience in a scheduled society is effective in the design of high-quality recycling facilities. In terms of convenience, the gap between recycling and not recycling is rather obvious in Hong Kong. Therefore, it is necessary and important to adjust the difference in the degree of convenience regarding refuse disposal and recyclable collection. In addition, the enhancement of economic incentives could shift the degree of convenience and encourage public participation in recycling. The challenges of specific living conditions and social contexts should also be taken into account to enhance the convenience of recycling. Research limitations/implications - Further case studies are expected in other countries and cities with the purpose of gaining an in-depth understanding of the means by which to approach the convenience of recycling programmes within various social contexts. Comprehensive and continuous studies on these factors are recommended throughout the design and implementation processes to account for constantly changing situations. A clear understanding of convenience from the perspective of the users is important. Practical implicationsThe findings provide reference and direction for a holistic approach to the design and management of recycling facilities in Hong Kong. The findings also advocate the consideration of convenience from the perspective of the users. Social implicationsThe findings illustrate how to design and manage public facilities for waste recycling in ways that encourage household and community participation in terms of convenience. Originality/valueThe paper identifies the manner by which the culture of convenience and an institutionalised rhythm influence recycling practices. Although substantial studies on recycling indicate that convenience is a necessary characteristic of designs and services, the nature of convenience and the means by which to approach convenience in terms of public facilities are seldom discussed. The paper proposes several recommendations on the basis of the studies of the refuse collection programmes in other areas of Asia and case studies in Hong Kong. The findings provide insights for policymakers, researchers and designers to improve the design of public facilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-374
Number of pages25
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Convenience
  • Environmental behaviour
  • Facilities management
  • High-rise buildings
  • Public design
  • Recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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