People, plastic, and behaviour change – a comment on drivers of plastic pollution, barriers to change and targeted behaviour change interventions

Anna MacDonald, Deonie Allen, Lynn Williams, Paul Flowers, Tony R. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There are many studies considering the use and waste management of plastics but these are primarily focused on recycling. While studies of human interaction with plastics provide some insight into current waste creation and recycling choices studies on behaviour change and the human relationship to plastic are limited. In this perspective, we pose that understanding individual and community behaviour change is key to determining effective and sustainable drivers of change in the use of plastics. A review of contemporary literature highlights this as a knowledge gap, with only a few studies undertaken which have primarily focused on the theory of planned behaviour and plastic waste. To help support more sustainable and effective plastic use and waste management policy, it is recommended that future research focus on behavioural aspects of the plastic-people relationship with a focus on the Behaviour Change Wheel and the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation model (COM-B), to advance current understanding of individuals’ behaviours relating to plastic use and waste. It is suggested that understanding the behavioural elements of the people-plastic relationship is fundamental to identifying effective and sustainable changes in behaviour and the guidance, policies, opportunities, and restrictions that can help achieve change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science: Advances
Volume2
Issue number4
Early online date6 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • people
  • plastic
  • behaviour change
  • drivers
  • plastic pollution
  • barriers to change
  • targeted behaviour change interventions

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