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Gender and Recycling: Qualitative Phase, Quito, Ecuador - Summary Report

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R. Bastidas
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In 1993 the municipality of Quito, Ecuador initiated a pilot program in several areas of lower-middle and lower class neighbourhoods to encourage households to recycle their waste; however it has been found that recycling levels are still low, and are deteriorating over time. This report explores different perceptions and attitudes among men and women, and 'separators' and 'non- separators' of waste, to help inform the municipality's proposed educational intervention to further promote recycling. It was found that female involvement in program promotion was an important element in getting the pilot program started, and that men were more critical of the program than women. Differences in perception between men and women included: who should benefit from the profits generated by recycling; the type of self-image created by involvement in the program; and the importance of the health implications of recycling. Recommendations include: reinforcing the concept of usable waste and the benefits of recycling; consultation with beneficiaries about potential changes to the program and the use of profits from recyclable products and compost; and demonstrations and hands-on experience for 'non-separators' to overcome misconceptions.