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Understanding waste recycling behaviour in the UK: home-work consistency.

Oke, Adekunle


Adekunle Oke


Seonaidh McDonald

Joanneke Kruijsen

Andrew Davis


Despite the increasing attention being paid to waste recycling, there is a dearth of both empirical evidence on recycling at work and examination of any spillover effects of recycling behaviour from home to work. Situated at the confluence of three social science debates (the study of recycling set within the waste management literature; the examination of spillover in the social psychology literature, and the work on pro-environmental behaviour at work in the organisational behaviour literature), this research seeks to understand recycling at work and the relationship between recycling behaviour at home and recycling at work using a sequential mixed methods approach. Due to the complexity of human behaviours including the heterogeneity of the factors underpinning recycling, this research adopts a sequential mixed methods approach with its pragmatic philosophical assumptions to examine recycling at work. Initially, semi-structured interviews with 15 key informants from different organisations including environmental/waste organisations in the UK were conducted. The findings from the interviews were used along with the evidence from the literature to develop the conceptual model and the research hypotheses. The quantitative data were collected, using a web-based questionnaire survey, from 367 respondents representing 43 different organisations across the UK. The collected quantitative data were analysed using SPSS for windows and IBM AMOS for path and causal analyses. Based on the findings, this research demonstrates that contextual factors such as organisational support are better determinants of recycling at work than personality/psychological factors such as attitudes that have dominated empirical and theoretical studies on pro-environmental behaviours for decades. Also, the findings of this research suggest that the concept of spillover of recycling from home to work is complex and inconsistent. Whilst there is a tendency for spillover of recycling behaviour, there is a significant difference between recycling at home and at work with regards to the volume of materials, the range of materials, and frequency of recycling. Nonetheless, the PROCESS macro allows the identification of various conditions that are likely to facilitate spillover of recycling from home to work. As a result, factors that are likely to determine recycling at work including the possible spillover of recycling from home to work are classified into personal/psychological and situational factors. These findings contribute to the existing bodies of knowledge on recycling behaviour, spillover effects, and organisational citizenship behaviour for the environment (OCBE). Also, the findings could assist businesses in finding proactive measures to increase recycling within their organisations. This would consequently reduce the total amount of resources being disposed of in the UK landfill sites.


OKE, A.O. 2018. Understanding waste recycling behaviour in the UK: home-work consistency. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date Apr 1, 2018
Deposit Date Sep 6, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 6, 2018
Keywords OCBE; Organisational support; Proenvironmental behaviours; PROCESS macro; Psychological factors; Recycling behaviour; SEM; Situational factors; Spillover; Waste
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