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Attitudes and Behavioural Change in Household Waste Management Behaviours

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This paper reviews antecedent factors to household waste management recycling and composting behaviours, showing that negative perceptions about those activities or barriers to performing those activities are common discriminants of behaviour in those activities. Emphasis is then placed on how such perceptions can differ between those who have recently taken up the activities and those who have not, and between those formerly participating but who have now dropped out and those still continuing to participate. A case study is presented focusing on home composting. Results show that there may be two distinct classes of antecedent attitudes: convenience factors such as time and effort, which may play little part in initiation but can reinforce persistence; and attitudes of predisposition such as perceptions of vermin and fly problems, waste requirements and aesthetics, which can inhibit initiation. The study also shows how initial experience quickly sets attitudes that are stably maintained into the longer term, unless subsequent specific adverse experiences are encountered, when attitudes may weaken and drop-out might occur. The implications for waste management planning are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Environmental Technology Group, University of Paisley, Paisley PA1 2BE, UK. Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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