Exploring the Difference Between Recyclers and Non-Recyclers: The Role of Information

Journal of Environmental Systems 01/1988; 18(4):341-351. DOI: 10.2190/FBQC-5V5D-HHVC-V6X8


This article reports on a pilot study which explored how recyclers and non-recyclers differ. Two hundred households were first identified by direct observation over a series of months being either recyclers or non-recyclers. These households were then contacted and ninety-one respondents agreed to answer a series of verbal questions and complete a short written questionnaire. While from a preliminary study, these data are useful in suggesting that recyclers and non-recyclers are similar in their prorecycling attitudes, extrinsic motivation, and the degree to which they viewed recycling as a trivial activity. They differed significantly, however, in the degree to which they required additional information about recycling. Non-recycling respondents indicated a lack of information on how to carry out the activity. The study is also of interest due to the isolation of attitudinal and behavioral aspects of recycling. Since some form of relationship between these two constructs is so pervasive in the literature, the results are conceptually intriguing. Perhaps more
important, however, are the practical implications for enabling non-recyclers to change their behavior independently of their attitudes.

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Available from: Raymond K De Young, Dec 31, 2013
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    • "The principal characteristics of households with a high level of recycling activity in the analysis are a strong moral commitment, high expectations concerning the effectiveness of recycling in improving environmental quality and a positive attitude towards the environment in general. De Young (1989) examines intrinsic motivation and recycling and finds that recyclers value the personal satisfaction derived from frugality and from a sense of having made a difference in the long run. "
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    ABSTRACT: University students are a key group for research since they will be the consumers and the intellectual vanguard of the future and, therefore, a reference group for other consumers. Accordingly, data obtained from university students in Spain (n = 640) and the US (n = 597) were analysed to identify the main internal factors which lead them to participate in recycling activities. Given that morality-based theories, and more specifically the Value–Belief–Norm (VBN) Theory, might be very useful in explaining pro-environmental behaviour which requires personal sacrifices and whose benefits are mainly for the environment itself, that is the theoretical approach that we take for the selection and analysis of factors. Our findings support our thesis that environmental knowledge is a factor that should be (but is not currently) considered in the framework of VBN theory for predicting recycling behaviour. Although university students from Spain and the US have very different recycling rates, the internal factors that explain their recycling behaviour are very similar (motivations, perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE), environmental knowledge and gender). The elasticity of recycling behaviour to changes in internal factors is estimated with a view to making predictions, and altruistic motivations and PCE are found to be the factors that have the greatest effect in terms of improving recycling behaviour, followed by environmental knowledge. These predictions could help university policy makers take better decisions about the factors on which they need to act to increase recycling activities. Some guidelines for consideration in future intervention strategies to encourage this group to recycle are also provided.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · International IJC
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    • "However, past literature has also indicated situational variable as a significant predictor of recycling behaviour. For instance, previous studies demonstrated that factors such as time, cost, and the facilities' conditions are regarded as hindrances to a pro-environmental behaviour (De Young, 1989; Taylor & Todd, 1995; Vining & Ebreo, 1990). It is suggested that by improving the facilities' condition and making recycling more convenient, consumers' recycling intentions and recycling frequency could be increased. "
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    ABSTRACT: Failure in managing solid waste could result in environmental deterioration, which affects the quality of life. Recycling is argued to be a better solution to the problem. Although consumers awareness is increasing, participations in recycling are still low. The objective is to examine the influence of situational factors on recycling behaviour. Using cluster sampling, 300 respondents from selected urban areas in Malaysia were identified as samples. Data is analysed using structural equation modeling. Situational factors are non- significant predictors of recycling behaviour, but are significant predictors of intention to recycle. The findings have significant policy implications in ensuring the quality of life of societies.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
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    • "These concepts are particularly important given that a lack of knowledge about recycling is a common trait of non-recyclers (Schultz, 2002). The more knowledgeable an individual is about what items are recyclable, how to prepare items for recycling, and where to go to recycle, the more likely the individual is to correctly take part in the activity (Gamba and Oskamp, 1994; Vining and Ebreo, 1990; De Young, 1989; Scott, 1999). The good news for increasing community participation in university recycling programs is that a lack of knowledge about how to recycle appropriately may be overcome through education and outreach efforts. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a better understanding of the state of knowledge of students and faculty on the Michigan State University (MSU) campus; identify relevant gaps in knowledge and misconceptions about recycling; and provide recommendations regarding how these gaps and misconceptions may be addressed through education and outreach. Design/methodology/approach – Using mental models analysis, the current state of knowledge possessed by students and faculty was compared with a comprehensive inventory of on-campus recycling procedures and opportunities. Findings – By combining data from individual mental models elicited from students and faculty members, an overall mental model that depicted the frequency with which subjects understood MSU-specific recycling concepts was developed. This composite model, and the accompanying statistical analysis, revealed important gaps – on part of both students and faculty – in understanding for several key recycling concepts that are relevant to established campus-based waste reduction practices. Originality/value – The mental models approach, which to the authors' knowledge has yet to be applied to campus sustainability initiatives, provides program managers and outreach specialists with a constructive and transparent opportunity to develop and deploy program information that builds on existing knowledge while also meeting the new information needs of key stakeholders.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
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