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

De Young, R. (1989). Exploring the difference between recyclers and non-recyclers: The role of information. Journal of Environmental Systems, 18, 341-351.
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 pro-recycling 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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