Keep It Dirty Durham: A Social Marketing Strategy for Altering Public Littering Behavior




Doolin, Heather
Zhang, Qi


George, Pamela

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The city of Durham, North Carolina has a population whose chant is “Keep It Dirty, Durham.” With a unique character, the location of the food hub of the south, and an increasingly growing population, Durham’s citizens must recognize a progressively present problem. Litter in the form of cigarette butts, fast food wrappers, and beverage containers is becoming a normal daily sighting.Social marketing can be a useful and effective tool when trying to spread knowledge to a vast population. Outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram create easily accessible, tangible, and interesting ways not only to access information, but also digest it in a manner that is increasingly popular and understandable. The City of Durham is hoping to market anti-pollution campaigns with the intent of reducing gross solid waste from entering or blocking storm drains throughout the downtown Durham area. This project hopes to bring about the reduction by ten percent of gross litter at five bus stops in the City of Durham. Through the method of a targeted anti-litter campaign, we hope to target cigarette litter and fast food waste. This will occur through the use of social marketing methods by way of social media (Facebook and Twitter), presence at Durham events, passing out of swag (pocket ashtrays) at bus stop study areas, and the existence of flyers at bus stops and in DATA buses. By partnering with the Durham Stormwater Management Department, Keep Durham Beautiful, and DATA Transportation, this study will be made possible. The objective of the waste reduction intervention was met, showcasing statistically significant reductions at all sites even when including outliers that can skew data.





Doolin, Heather, and Qi Zhang (2015). Keep It Dirty Durham: A Social Marketing Strategy for Altering Public Littering Behavior. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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