Assessment of Waste Management Practices in Cyprus: The case of Nudging at Cyprus University of Technology

Student thesis: Dissertation (TFM)


Waste management issues are prevalent in many parts of the world. Member states of the European Union (EU) are expected to follow the guidelines of the Waste Framework Directive set by the EU. The directive includes targets intended to facilitate waste management practices such as recycling and landfilling. Unfortunately, several countries in the Mediterranean regions are failing to meet these targets, one such country being Cyprus. The country is the third largest generator of municipal waste in the EU and majority of the country’s waste (approx. 80%) are landfilled, while just 19% are recycled. Cyprus has failed to meet the target for recycling 50% of the municipal waste by 2020. Much of the problems can be attributed to the fact that the country lacks good infrastructures such as recycling facilities and services for separate processing of recyclables and biodegradables.

Cyprus University of Technology,situated in the city of Limassol, is a leading university in country that values environmental protection and sustainability and has won several awards for depicting their commitment towards sustainable development. Owing to their good environmental record, a study was conducted at this university in the form of a waste audit and nudging experiment along with a complimentary questionnaire. Nudging is a concept in behavioural science which proposes positive reinforcement through the form of indirect suggestions as a strategy to influence decisions and behaviours of individuals or groups. Nudging was undertaken through the intervention of an informative sign at the recycle bins. The waste audit was separated into two periods, control (without nudging) and intervention (with nudging). Later, a questionnaire was distributed to students to understand their attitudes and behaviours towards recycling and the nudging experiment. This research is analysed using a mixed method approach whereby data is collected and analysed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. A secondary data analysis was also utilised for recommending possible solutions to improving waste management problems in Cyprus based on recycling initiatives in other countries, particularly from the Mediterranean region.

The research found that there has been an increase in the rate of recycling since nudging was introduced. The questionnaire results also implied that there is a general concern among students for recycling and that much more has to be done by the university to help with waste separation and recycling. The secondary analysis of literature also reveals Cyprus has a long way to go, but proper waste management can be achieved through the government’s prioritisation of environmental protection and improvement of waste management infrastructures.

Although the findings in this research has been successful, it could have been further investigated if the waste audit period had been extended and more responses were acquired to the questionnaire. Additionally, conducting interviews of certain individuals could have provided more insight into the waste management challenges in the future.
Date of Award2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Uppsala Universitet
SupervisorAlejandro Marcos Valls (Director) & Angeline Korsunova (Director)

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