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Towards a sustainable consumer model: the case study of Bulgarian recyclers

Vasileva, Elka, Ivanova, Daniela
International journal of consumer studies 2014 v.38 no.5 pp. 475-484
attitudes and opinions, case studies, cluster analysis, consumer behavior, developing countries, environmental policy, household equipment, marketing, models, national surveys, organic foods, packaging, people, planning, public policy, purchasing, recycling, wastes, Bulgaria
For several years, Bulgaria has been implementing systems for separate collection of packaging waste as elements of environment policy, which aims to decrease the quantity of the municipal‐generated waste deposited in land. The effectiveness of these systems is largely determined by consumers' recycling behaviour in post‐socialist countries with emerging sustainable behaviour patterns. The aim of this article is to identify different segments among Bulgarians based on their attitudes towards recycling in order to highlight the characteristics of recyclers and non‐recycler groups and, subsequently, to elaborate on possible tailored marketing and communication plans to promote recycling among Bulgarians. A national survey was conducted with 968 people over 18 years of age from the municipalities covered by the system for separate collection of packaging waste. The cluster analysis of the results of the survey made possible the segmentation according to the attitudes towards recycling. The following four clusters were identified: the ‘Environmentally sensitive’ (18.46%); the ‘Inert’ who do not appreciate the benefits of recycling for the environment (26.14%); the ‘Indifferent’ to the separate collection of waste (29.57%); and the ‘Recycling’ (25.83%). The composition of each of the clusters is analysed both according to recycling practices and according to other types of sustainable behaviour (buying of organic foods, non‐food ecological products, energy‐efficient household appliances, etc.). The contextual factors that have demotivating effects on consumer behaviour for separate collection of waste in the country are also discussed. The correlations between cluster belonging and socio‐demographic characteristics of the participants in the study are examined. The implications of the study may be associated with the development and implementation of public policy strategies for the separate collection of waste and the promotion of sustainable consumer behaviour patterns.