Means-end chain theory and the laddering methodology were used to derive the goals relevant to consumers for recycling, as well as the interrelations among goals. Data were collected from 133 consumers by use of a random digit dialing procedure. The overall framework that emerged from the analyses was one where concrete goals led to more abstract goals, and attitudes and past behavior intervened between goals and intentions in decision making. 19 goals were uncovered, with 15 ultimately found to be salient. The topmost goals in the hierarchy were "promote health/avoid sickness," "achieve life-sustaining ends," and "provide for future generations." The key lower-order goals were "avoid filling up landfills," "reduce waste," and "reuse materials." Intermediate and terminal goals were also identified.