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Willingness to engage in a pro-environmental behavior: An analysis of e-waste recycling based on a national survey of U.S. households
- Saphores, Jean-Daniel M., Ogunseitan, Oladele A., Shapiro, Andrew A.
- Resources, conservation, and recycling 2012 v.60 pp. 49-63
- data collection, education, electronic wastes, gender, households, income, logit analysis, marital status, models, national surveys, nationalities and ethnic groups, psychology, recycling, sociodemographic characteristics, toxicity, United States
- Using concepts from environmental psychology and economics, we investigate U.S. households’ willingness to engage in a form of pro-environmental behavior: recycling electronic waste (e-waste) at drop-off locations. We rely on rich dataset from a 2006 national survey of U.S. households (N=2136). Our internal variables include a modified version of the New Ecological Paradigm scale, a moral norm scale based on Schwartz's norm-activation model, and indicators of social pressure for recycling. External variables consist of detailed socio-demographic characteristics. Our logit model shows that external variables do not help characterizing people with e-waste recycling experience, except that they tend to have larger families or to be over 60 years old. However, knowing that e-waste contains potentially toxic materials, recycling conventional materials at work or at school, and especially having strong moral norms helps explain e-waste recycling behavior. Using a generalized ordered logit model, we then show that the most important variables for explaining household willingness to recycle e-waste are internal variables, followed by recycling convenience, knowledge of the potential toxicity of e-waste, prior e-waste recycling experience, as well as gender and marital status; education, age, and ethnicity play only a minor role, while knowledge of e-waste laws, availability of curbside recycling for domestic waste, and income are not statistically significant. Our results suggest that e-waste recycling can be stimulated by promoting moral norms, educating the public about the benefits of recycling e-waste, and making e-waste recycling more convenient but other measures will likely be necessary to tackle the e-waste problem.