Environmental Management

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 603–612 | Cite as

The Value-Action Gap in Waste Recycling: The Case of Undergraduates in Hong Kong

  • Shan-Shan Chung
  • Monica Miu-Yin Leung


The discrepancy between verbal and actual commitment in waste recycling and environmental behavior is thought to have attenuated the effectiveness of many environmental policy and measures. Studies purport to show the existence of such a value-action gap in environmental issues has been largely based on matching the verbal commitment to environmental value through self-reported environmental behavioral data. Therefore, there is a lack of direct evidence to prove that such a discrepancy exists. This study demonstrates a methodology (contrasting on-site observation with self-reported results) to measure the gap between verbal commitment and actual recycling behavior and provides an explanation on the recycling behavior of students at Hong Kong Baptist University in the hope that the lessons learnt can be generalized to a wider context. Our findings indicate that a gap between verbal recycling commitment and corresponding action does exist in waste recycling on this university campus. By using multiple linear regression analysis, we found that the self-reported recycling behavior of undergraduates cannot be meaningfully explained by most variables previously suggested in the general value-action model.


Hong Kong Recycling commitment Undergraduates Value-action gap 



This research was supported and financially sponsored by the Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty Research Grant (Project No. FRG/04-05/I-49), and the Environmental, Health and Safety Unit of the Hong Kong Baptist University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Department of BiologyHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of BiologyHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong

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