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Some Psychological Aspects of Recycling: The Structure of Conservation Satisfaction

Environment and Behavior (Impact Factor: 1.27). 07/1986; 18(4):435-449. DOI: 10.1177/0013916586184001

ABSTRACT

This article focuses on satisfactions derived from the recycling of household solid waste materials. Data from 107 respondents to a mail-back questionnaire were subjected to dimensional analysis and analysis of variance. The results indicatethat people derive a series of separate and distinct satisfactions from both recycling and reusing materials. The satisfactions were quite specific, involving, for example, frugality and participation. These findings suggest that our understanding of why people bother to conserve resources may be improved by investigating the personal satisfactions derived from conservation activities.

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Available from: Raymond K De Young, Dec 30, 2013
    • "Engineering research has compared the relative effects of alternative technologies and systems of recycling (e.g., Noll 1985). Environmental psychologists have focused upon harnessing altruistic motivations (e.g., De Young 1986), while sociologists have highlighted the role of social pressures and environmental constraints (e.g., Burn and Oskamp 1986). Public pedagogues call for participation and learning processes within the context of a complex array of education for sustainable development (ESD) approaches and settings (e.g., Laessøe 2010; Van Poeck and Vandenabeele 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze data on differentiated waste collection (as a proxy of pro-environmental behaviors) in Italian provinces in the years 1999–2012. We make use of a Markov Spatial Transition approach to model the dynamic of local transitions among different levels of environmental pro-sociality, and we find that behaviors, and in particular differentiated waste collecting habits, tend to be strongly influenced by proximity effects, so that provinces with good levels of environmental pro-sociality may positively influence nearby ones, and vice versa for provinces with poor levels of environmental pro-sociality. We also show that in the long term separate clusters with markedly different levels of differentiated waste collection rates emerge.
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    • "What drives individuals to buy sustainable products (such as organic food) seems to be the desire to satisfy personal needs, while the protection of the environment is of less importance. In other settings such as recycling, motives like " feeling that I am doing something " appear to be very significant (De Young, 1986) and could be explained by the need to bond and feel part of a community or social group. However, generally speaking, consumers focus their interest on personal benefits when acquiring goods. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite an increasing trend towards sustainable consumption, relatively little is known about socio-psychological influences on these practices. This paper explores the influence of human drives on sustainable consumption, and the moderating role of consumer identity in these processes. The Four Drive Theory of human behaviour is deployed as the foundation for a conceptual framework that is then applied in a pilot study with sustainable consumers. The results of this research suggest that people are differently motivated in their sustainable consumption, and that this consumption is informed by their identities and the degree of congruence between different layers of the self. This degree of alignment also influences how they develop their sustainable selves. The key contribution of this paper is the presentation of a conceptual framework and pilot study exploring the interplay between drives, identity and sustainable consumption practices, and the introduction of a new typology of sustainable consumers.
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    • "This raises the question of what makes paper more likely to be recycled in one instance and trashed in another? While recent research has started to examine this question (Trudel & Argo, 2013), the academic literature has largely focused on individual-level factors (De Young, 1986; Laidley, 2013; Oskamp, Harrington, Sherwood, Okuda, & Swanson, 1991; Saphores, Nixon, Ogunseitan, & Shapiro, 2006; Schultz, Oskamp, & Mainieri, 1995; Sia, Hungerford, & Tomera, 1986) and attitudes (Biswas, Licata, McKee, Pullig, & Daughtridge, 2000; Ebreo & Vining, 2001; Ojala, 2008; Tonglet, Phillips, & Read, 2003) that influence recycling behavior. Other streams of research have demonstrated effects of knowledge (Andrews, Gregoire, Rasmussen, & Witowich, 2013; Hopper & Nielson, 1991; Nyamwange, 1996; Vining & Ebreo, 1990), effort (Brothers, Krantz, & McClannahan, 1994; Ludwig, Gray, & Rowell, 1998; Reid, Luyben, Rawers, & Bailey, 1976), incentives (Geller, Chaffee, & Ingram, 1975; Luyben & Bailey, 1979), and design (Duffy & Verges, 2009) on recycling behavior. "
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    ABSTRACT: Much of what ends up in our landfills is recyclable material, exposing the urgent need to understand the psychological processes behind recycling behavior. Results from four studies suggest that consumers often trash well-known recyclable products due to the product being erroneously categorized as trash after it has been distorted (e.g., paper after it has been cut, torn, or crumpled). However, this categorization error can be somewhat mitigated by the presence of signage depicting the different distorted forms the recyclable product can take. Through prompting, consumers are able to correctly categorize a recyclable product when disposing of it, regardless of the level of distortion. These results provide an explanation for, and potential solution to, the issue of recyclable materials making their way into our landfills every day.
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