With the proliferation of ubiquitous computing and mobile technologies, mobile apps are tailored to support users to perform target behaviors in various domains, including a sustainable future. This article provides a systematic evaluation of mobile apps for sustainable waste management to deconstruct and compare the persuasive strategies employed and their implementations. Specifically, it targeted apps that support various sustainable waste management activities such as personal tracking, recycling, conference management, data collection, food waste management, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, games, etc. The authors who are persuasive technology researchers retrieved a total of 244 apps from App Store and Google Play, out of which 148 apps were evaluated. Two researchers independently analyzed and coded the apps and a third researcher was involved to resolve any disagreement. They coded the apps based on the persuasive strategies of the persuasive system design framework. Overall, the findings uncover that out of the 148 sustainable waste management apps evaluated, primary task support was the most employed category by 89% (n = 131) apps, followed by system credibility support implemented by 76% (n = 112) apps. The dialogue support was implemented by 71% (n = 105) apps and social support was the least utilized strategy by 34% (n = 51) apps. Specifically, Reduction (n = 97), personalization (n = 90), real-world feel (n = 83), surface credibility (n = 83), reminder (n = 73), and self-monitoring (n = 50) were the most commonly employed persuasive strategies. The findings established that there is a significant association between the number of persuasive strategies employed and the apps’ effectiveness as indicated by user ratings of the apps. How the apps are implemented differs depending on the kind of sustainable waste management activities it was developed for. Based on the findings, this paper offers design implications for personalizing sustainable waste management apps to improve their persuasiveness and effectiveness.


  • Persuasive technology is a sub-discipline of Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) that has evolved over the last 15 years

  • This section presents the results of the study that provide answers to the three research questions itemized in the method section. It discusses the persuasive strategies identified in the apps and how they were implemented across target sustainable waste management activities

  • We found that 89% (n 131) of the sustainable waste management apps implemented the strategies from the primary task support (PTS) category of the persuasive system design (PSD) framework

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Persuasive technology is a sub-discipline of Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) that has evolved over the last 15 years. Mobile solutions such as apps and games have become attractive channels to deliver personalized and socially responsible interventions Many of these apps and games are environmentally related and help to encourage positive individual and communal actions toward the realization of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it concerns environmental protection and sustainability programs (such as global climate change action plans, etc.), as well as promote the health and wellbeing of the people (Nkwo et al, 2020). Governments and stakeholders around the globe had put forward several measures including awareness campaigns, legislation, and infrastructural supports, targeted at either motivating or compelling people to take on responsible waste management behaviors (Ndubuisi-Okolo et al, 2016; a et al, 2020) Those efforts have not been effective, the calls for new approaches to motivate people to make behavioral and attitudinal changes. This is when relevant persuasive strategies are implemented on user-centered technologies such as mobile phones (Nkwo, 2019)

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