Attitudinal, normative, and control beliefs underlying people’s curbside household waste recycling decisions

Katherine M. White, Melissa K. Hyde


This study examined the beliefs underlying people’s decision-making, from a theory of planned behaviour (TPB) framework, in the prediction of curbside household waste recycling. Community members in Brisbane, Australia (N = 148) completed a questionnaire assessing the belief based TPB measures of attitudinal beliefs (costs and benefits), normative beliefs (important referents), and control beliefs (barriers) in relation to engaging in curbside household waste recycling for a 2-week period. Two weeks later, participants completed self report measures of recycling behaviour for the previous fortnight. The results revealed that the attitudinal, normative, and control beliefs for people who performed higher and lower levels of recycling differed significantly. A regression analysis identified both normative and control beliefs as the main determinants of recycling behaviour. For normative beliefs, high level recyclers perceived more approval from referents such as partners, friends, and neighbours to recycle all eligible materials. In addition, the strong results for control beliefs indicated that barriers such as forgetfulness, lack of time, and laziness were rated as more likely to hamper optimal recycling performance for low level recyclers. These findings provide important applied information about beliefs to target in the development of future community recycling campaigns.

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theory of planned behaviour; beliefs; recycling

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ISSN 1832-7931
Swinburne University of Technology