'I'm Not in the Habit of Recycling': The Role of Habitual Behavior in the Disposal of Household Waste

Knussen, C., & Yule, F. (2008). 'I'm not in the habit of recycling': The role of habitual behavior in the disposal of household waste. Environment and Behavior, 40(5), 683-702.

The role of habit was investigated using two potential measures of habitual recycling behavior: past recycling behavior and perceived lack of habit as a reason for previous failure to recycle. Data were collected from 252 participants in Scotland, United Kingdom. Situational constraints, demographic characteristics, and variables associated with the theory of planned behavior were controlled for. Both past behavior and lack of habit made significant independent contributions to the variance of intention to recycle, suggesting that past recycling behavior was not an adequate measure of habit. Lack of habit moderated the attitude-intention relationship, such that the attitudes of those lacking a recycling habit did not predict intention to recycle. This suggests that those who had failed to recycle because of lack of habit may have had the habit of treating recyclables as garbage. Further work is required to develop a range of adequate measures of habit in the recycling domain.

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