Public design and household participation in recycling for sustainability: A case study in Hong Kong

Jia Xin Xiao, Kin Wai Michael Siu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


. Recycling is considered to be one of the most effective measures for tackling imminent environmental problems. Over the past few decades, environmentalists, researchers, designers, and policymakers have made great efforts to reduce and recycle waste. However, compared to other developed cities, Hong Kong’s household waste recycling rate is still low with only 40%. In recent years, increasing numbers of designers and researchers have recognised that public design provided as a tool or service in public spaces is a significant factor for sustainable behaviour. Low quality and inefficient public design for recycling may fail to mobilise community participation. This paper aims to provide an in- depth investigation into households’ attitudes toward recycling and to shed light on the public design for recycling. This paper employs both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Based on an empirical study in a densely populated district, Kwun Tong, the findings indicate that public design is a key factor for facilitating or constraining sustainable behaviour. This paper further identifies some characteristics of public design and discusses how design can be improved to meet people’s needs and preferences. Finally, the paper provides recommendations for researchers and policymakers to encourage household participation in recycling by improving the quality of public design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Sustainability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Municipal solid waste
  • Public design
  • Recycling
  • Recycling behaviour
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science


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