As part of its mission to improve recycling, Keep America Beautiful has several initiatives aimed at expanding and improving the effectiveness of public space recycling programs, also referred to as recycling on the go. Keep America Beautiful works with corporate partners to place recycling bins in public spaces including parks, schools, street scapes, fairgrounds, colleges campuses, and special event locations. In addition to expanding recycling infrastructure to increase convenience, Keep America Beautiful is committed to staying on the cutting edge of social science research and believes in a data-driven approach to increasing recycling participation. Through research, best practice guides, and other technical initiatives, Keep America Beautiful is seeking to understand what motivates proper recycling behavior that will lead to increased recovery, and then disseminate this information to local communities implementing public space recycling programs.

Public Space Recycling Toolkit

Presented by Keep America Beautiful and The Coca-Cola Foundation

The following guide was created to complement the Keep America Beautiful/Coca-Cola Public Spaces Recycling Bin Grant Program, which annually provides bins to expand recycling opportunities in communities across the country.

Please contact Randy Hartmann at with any questions or comments.

Click to Download:

Full 12-Page Guide

Designing Successful Public Space Recycling Programs

The following 10 Tips guide is a comprehensive guide for designing a successful public space recycling program.

Please contact Randy Hartmann at with any questions or comments.

Click to Download:

Full 12-Page Guide

Abbreviated 1-Page Overview


Going Public

Read KAB article from the July 2013 issue of Resource Recycling discussing how behavior research can help improve the design of public space recycling programs.

Download the pdf: Going Public. Resource Recycling, (2013)



Bin The Know

Are you curious what impact recycling bin shape and color have on recycling? Read this article from George Washington University and Keep America Beautiful from survey results on perceptions around bin design.

Download the pdf: Bin the Know (2015)

Help Map Public Recycle Bins

Keep America Beautiful is embarking on a project to map public space recycling bins. Through this project, Keep America Beautiful can inventory where bins are being placed, see community leaders, identify areas needing infrastructure and provide the recycling industry information regarding public space collection penetration.  Help us build a map of public space recycling bins and map your bins here.


Duffy & Verges, (2008). It Matters A Hole Lot: Perceptual Affordances of Waste Containers Influence Recycling Compliance

  • Impact of restrictive lids on behavior
Ludwig, Gray & Rowell (1998.) Increasing Recycling In Academic Buildings: A Systematic Replication

  • Placement of bins in academic buildings
Montazeri, Gonzalez, Yoon & Papalambros, (2012). Color, Cognition, and Recycling: How The Design of Everyday Objects Prompt Behavior Change

  • Color of recycling bin as a cue to influence behavior
O’Connor, Hodde, Lerman & Fritz, (2010). Effects of Number and Location of Bins on Plastic Recycling at a University



Werner, Stoll, Birch & White, (2002). Clinical Validation and Cognitive Elaboration: Signs That Encourage Sustained Recycling-

  • Testing different sign messaging to persuade people to recycle.
Konrod, Grinstein & Wathieu, (2012). Go Green! Should Environmental Messages Be So Assertive?

  • Impact of using strong vs gentler phrasing in environmental messaging

Keep America Beautiful and George Washington University Professor Dr. Monique Turner (2014) conduct survey to study bin shape, color and signage.

  • Survey results on bin shape and signage



Schultz, Oskamp & Mainieri, (1995). Who Recycles and When? A review of Personal and Situational Factors

  • Literature review of behavioral studies related to recycling
De Young (1989). Exploring the Difference Between Recyclers and Non-Recyclers: The Role of Information

  • Confusion as a barriers to recycling behavior


Venue Recycling in the U.S.A. NAPCOR, (2008)
Development of Best Practices
in Public Space Recycling, Part 1
Eureka Recycling, Minneapolis, Minnesota, (2011)
. Download Part 2 and Part 3
NYC Public Space Recycling Pilot Program, New York City Department of Sanitation, Bureau of Waste Prevention Reuse and Recycling (2007)


Green Event Planning Guide. Keep Kansas City Beautiful, (2011)
Guidelines for Public Place Recycling in Shopping Precincts and Public Places. EnviroCom Australia (2013)
Lend-A-Bin MOU Template
Lend-A-Bin Report Form Template
State and County Fair Recycling Resources. Keep America Beautiful (2013)