An Analysis of Intentions to Recycle Household Waste: The Roles of Past Behaviour, Perceived Habit, and Perceived Lack of Facilities

Knussen, C., Yule, F., MacKenzie, J., & Wells, M. (2004). An analysis of intentions to recycle household waste: The roles of past behaviour, perceived habit, and perceived lack of facilities. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24(2), 237-246. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2003.12.001.

The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) was used to guide an analysis of intentions to recycle household waste in a geographical area (Glasgow, Scotland) with relatively poor recycling facilities. A sample of 252 members of the public completed a questionnaire (response rate of 66%). In addition to TPB variables, the contributions of past recycling behaviour, perceived habit of recycling, and perceived lack of recycling facilities were considered. The TPB components contributed 29% to the variance of intentions to recycle; attitudes and perceived behavioural control (PBC) (but not the subjective norm) were significant on entry. Past recycling and perceived habit made significant independent contributions. Contrary to expectations, there was some evidence to suggest that (a) the past behaviour-intention relationship was stronger for those with no perceived habit of recycling, and (b) the attitude-intention relationship was stronger for those who had recycled more in the past. There was also evidence to suggest that the PBC-intention relationship was weaker when facilities were perceived to be lacking. The findings highlighted methodological, theoretical, and social issues, and it was concluded that full account should be taken of the social context in such research.

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