In this paper we test two approaches to reduce littering in urban parks that potentially reinforce each other: Relocating waste receptacles and the presence of watching eyes. Moving waste receptacles from the interior to the exits of a park makes waste collection more efficient, but can have opposing effects: Decreased littering because of greater care inspired by the perception of natural beauty in a park without artifacts like waste receptacles, or increased littering because of the greater distance to waste receptacles.
Preceded by an online study (N=153), three successive field studies showed mixed evidence for increased littering when moving waste receptacles to the exits (Study 2 and 3). However, when additionally attaching pictures of watching animal eyes to trees in the park (Study 4), litter levels seemed to decrease. We conclude that littering is best countered with a combination of persuasive communication and physical measures.
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