Students’ Responses to Improve Environmental Sustainability Through Recycling: Quantitatively Improving Qualitative Model

Abstract

This study attempts to contemplate the respondents’ behaviors regarding recycling, with the purpose of identifying the factors that influence their behaviors. The study is based on a survey that was conducted with 230 nationwide university students and guidelines borrowed from the Theory of Planned Behavior and The Theory of Reasoned action. The data collected was evaluated by applying the Structure Equation Modelling technique. The study concluded that peoples’ attitudes are largely subject to the moral values and general norms of their own society. Additionally, an individual’s response towards recycling is greatly determined by the extent of his/her awareness towards the environment, as well as his/her personal knowledge. Another conclusion was that an individual’s past experience towards recycling contributes to his/her attitude (willingness or apprehension about recycling) in the future. Furthermore, although the convenience and cost of recycling were found to be reasonably significant determinants about one’s recycling behavior, it was determined that time commitment is the most decisive factor that influences an individual’s willingness to or not to recycle. The study’s findings have not only established the authority of Theory of Planned Behaviour and Theory of Reasoned Action, but it has also presented propositions and recommendations for future research. The inferences were based on the study’s respondents, hence, so their validity can be applied to various scenarios involving local educational institutions or government structures. The goal of the study is to encourage people to engage in positive recycling behavior.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behaviour. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1977). Attitude-behaviour relations: a theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychological Bulletin, 84, 888–918.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bagozzi, R. P., Youjae, Y., & Baumgartner, J. (1990). The level of effort required for behaviour as a moderator of the attitude-behaviour relationship. European Journal of Social Psychology, 20, 45–59.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Barr, S., Gilg, A. W., & Ford, N. J. (2001). A conceptual framework for understanding and analyzing attitudes towards household-waste management. Environment and Planning, 33, 2025–2048.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Beck, L., & Ajzen, I. (1991). Predicting dishonest actions using the theory of planned behaviour. Journal of Research in Personality, 25, 285–301.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Begum, R. A., Siwar, C., Pereira, J. J., & Jaafar, A. H. (2009). Attitude and behavioural factors in waste management in the construction industry of Malaysia. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 53, 321–328.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bentler, P. M., & Speckart, G. (1979). Models of attitude-behavior relations. Psychological Review, 86, 452–464.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Boldero, J. (1995). The prediction of household recycling of newspaper: the role of attitudes, intentions and situational factors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 440–462.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Bratt, C. (1999). The impact of norms and assumed consequences on recycling behaviour. Environment and Behaviour, 31, 630–656.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Chan, K. (1998). Mass communication and pro-environmental behaviour: waste recycling in Hong Kong. Journal of Environmental Management, 52, 317–325.

  12. Chen, M. F., Tung, P. J. (2010). The moderating effect of perceived lack of facilities on consumers’ recycling intentions. Environment and Behaviour 42.

  13. Cheung, S. F., Chan, D. K., & Wong, Z. S. (1999). Reexamining the theory of planned behaviour in understanding waste paper recycling. Environment and Behavior, 31, 587–617.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Conner, M., & McMillan, B. (1999). Interaction effects in the theory of planned behaviour: studying cannabis use. The British Journal Social Psychology, 38, 195–222.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Darby, L., & Obara, L. (2005). Household recycling behaviour and attitudes towards the disposal of small electrical and electronic equipment. Resources, Conservation, and Recycling, 44, 17–35.

  16. Davies, J., Foxall, G. R., & Pallister, J. (2002). Beyond the intention-behaviour mythology: an integrated model of recycling. Market Theory, 1, 29–113.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. del Mar Alonso-Almeida, M. (2013). Environmental management in tourism: students’ perceptions and managerial practice in restaurants from a gender perspective. Journal of Cleaner Production.

  18. Diekmann, A., & Preisendörfer, P. (2003). Green and greenback: the behavioural effects of environmental attitudes in low-cost and high-cost situations. Rationality and Society, 15, 441–472.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Do Valle, P. O., Rebelo, E., Reis, E., & Menezes, J. (2005). Combining behavioural theories to predict recycling involvement. Environment and Behaviour, 37, 364–396.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Fredericks, A. J., & Dossett, D. L. (1983). Attitude–behaviour relations: a comparison of the Fishbein–Ajzen and Bentler–Speckart models. Journal of Personal Social Psychology, 45, 501–512.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. González-Torre, P. L., Adenso-Díaz, B., & Ruiz-Torres, A. (2003). Some comparative factors regarding recycling collection systems in regions of the USA and Europe. Journal of Environmental Management, 69, 129–138.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2010). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Hassan A., Noordin T. A., Sulaiman S. (2010). The status on the level of environmental awareness in the concept of sustainable development amongst secondary school students, Procedia-Social and Behavioural Sciences, pp. 1276–1280.

  24. Hofstede, G., & Bond, M. H. (1988). The Confucian connection: from cultural roots to economic growth. Organizational Dynamics, 16, 4–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Hornik, J., Cherian, J., Madansky, M., & Narayana, C. (1995). Determinants of recycling behaviour: a synthesis of research results. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 24, 105–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Hoyle, R. (1995). Structural equation modeling: concepts, issues, and applications. CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Juárez-Nájera, M., Rivera-Martínez, J. G., & Hafkamp, W. A. (2010). An explorative socio-psychological model for determining sustainable behavior: pilot study in German and Mexican universities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 18, 686–694.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Kelly, T. C., Mason, I. G., Leiss, M. W., & Ganesh, S. (2006). University community responses to on-campus resource recycling. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 47, 42–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 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, 237–246.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Liska, A. E. (1984). A critical examination of the causal structure of the Fishbein/Ajzen attitude-behaviour model. Social Psychology, 47, 61–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Liu, X., Tanaka, M., & Matsui, Y. (2009). Economic evaluation of optional recycling processes for waste electronic home appliances. Journal of Cleaner Production, 17, 53–60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Mannetti, L., Pierro, A., & Livi, S. (2004). Recycling: planned and self-expressive behaviour. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24, 227–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. McDonald, S., & Ball, R. (1998). Public participation in plastics recycling schemes. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 22, 123–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Neo, H. (2007). Challenging the developmental state: nature conservation in Singapore. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 48, 186–199.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Ng R., Shi C. W. P., Tan H. X., Song B. (2013). Avoided impact quantification from recycling of wood waste in Singapore: an assessment of pallet made from technical wood versus virgin softwood. Journal of Cleaner Production.

  36. Nigbur, D., Lyons, E., & Uzzell, D. (2010). Attitudes, norms, identity and environmental behaviour: using an expanded theory of planned behaviour to predict participation in a kerbside recycling programme. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 259–284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Oskamp, S. (1995). Resource conservation and recycling: behaviour and policy. Journal of Social Issues, 51, 157–173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Oskamp, S., Harrington, M. J., Edwards, T. C., Sherwood, D. L., Okuda, S. M., & Swanson, D. C. (1991). Factors influencing household recycling behavior. Environment and Behavior, 23, 494–519.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Parker, D., Manstead, A. S. R., Strading, S. G., Reason, J. T., & Baxter, J. S. (1992). Intentions to commit driving violations: an application of the theory of planned behaviour. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 94–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Perron, G. M., Côté, R. P., & Duffy, J. F. (2006). Improving environmental awareness training in business. Journal of Cleaner Production, 14, 551–562.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Riaz, A., Zahedi, G., & Klemeš, J. J. (2013). A review of cleaner production methods for the manufacture of methanol. Journal of Cleaner Production, 57, 19–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Rodríguez-Barreiro, L. M., Fernández-Manzanal, R., Serra, L. M., Carrasquer, J., Murillo, M. B., Morales, M. J., Calvo, J. M., & Valle, J. (2013). Approach to a causal model between attitudes and environmental behaviour. A graduate case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 48, 116–125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Saphores, J. M., Nixon, H., Ogunseitan, O. A., & Shapiro, A. A. (2006). Household willingness to recycle electronic waste: an application to California. Environment and Behaviour, 38, 183–208.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Sardinha, I. D., Craveiro, D., & Milheiras, S. (2013). A sustainability framework for redevelopment of rural brownfields: stakeholder participation at SÃO DOMINGOS mine, Portugal. Journal of Cleaner Production, 57, 200–208.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Shaw, P. J. (2008). Nearest neighbour effects in kerbside household waste recycling. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 52, 775–784.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Sidique, S. F., Joshi, S. V., & Lupi, F. (2010a). Factors influencing the rate of recycling: an analysis of Minnesota counties. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 54, 242–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Sidique, S. F., Lupi, F., & Joshi, S. V. (2010b). The effects of behavior and attitudes on drop-off recycling activities. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 54, 163–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Terry, D. J., Hogg, M. A., & White, K. M. (1999). The theory of planned behaviour: self-identity, social identity and group norms. British Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 225–244.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Tonglet, M. (2000). Consumer misbehaviour: consumers’ perceptions of shoplifting and retail security. Security Journal, 13, 19–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Tonglet, M., Phillips, P. S., & Read, A. D. (2004). Using the theory of planned behaviour to investigate the determinants of recycling behaviour: a case study from brixworth, UK. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 41, 191–214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Tucker, P. (1999). Normative influences in household waste recycling. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 42, 63–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Vicente-Molina M. A., Fernández-Sáinz A., Izagirre-Olaizola J. (2013). Environmental knowledge and other variables affecting pro-environmental behaviour: comparison of university students from emerging and advanced countries. Journal of Cleaner Production.

  53. Vining, J., & Ebreo, A. (1990). What makes a recycler? A comparison of recyclers and nonrecyclers. Environment and behavior, 22, 55–73.

  54. Wang, Z., Zhang, B., Yin, J., & Zhang, X. (2011). Willingness and behavior towards e-waste recycling for residents in Beijing city, China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 19, 977–984.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Wang P., Liu Q., Qi Y. (2013). Factors influencing sustainable consumption behaviors: a survey of the rural residents in China. Journal of Cleaner Production.

  56. Zsóka, Á., Szerényi, Z. M., Széchy, A., & Kocsis, T. (2013). Greening due to environmental education? Environmental knowledge, attitudes, consumer behavior and everyday pro-environmental activities of Hungarian high school and university students. Journal of Cleaner Production, 48, 126–138.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Muhammad Shakil Ahmad.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 6 Details of instruments adopted

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ahmad, M.S., Bazmi, A.A., Bhutto, A.W. et al. Students’ Responses to Improve Environmental Sustainability Through Recycling: Quantitatively Improving Qualitative Model. Applied Research Quality Life 11, 253–270 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-014-9366-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Recycling behavior
  • Subjective norms
  • Moral norms
  • Attitude
  • Extent of concern
  • Environmental sustainability