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Waste separation in cafeterias: a study among university students in the Netherlands

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Abstract

Recycling waste is important to reduce the production of greenhouse gasses. The aim of this project was to understand determinants of cafeteria waste separation behavior among university students. First, the determinants of waste separation behavior among university students (n = 121) were explored using an online questionnaire. In study 2 (pre-/post-test design), the effect of a small intervention (based on study 1) on actual waste sorting behavior was observed. Finally, a semi-qualitative study in 59 students was conducted as process evaluation of the intervention. The following results were revealed: (1) Students have limited knowledge about waste separation, have a high intention to separate waste, are positive about waste separation in general, and believe that they can separate waste correctly. (2) Just over half of the waste is correctly recycled. An intervention with extra information had no significant effect on improving recycling behavior. (3) Students evaluated the intervention positively. Some students suggested that more information should be available where the actual decision making takes place. Ultimately, this paper concludes that although students have a positive attitude and are willing to behave pro-environmentally, there is a gap between intention and actual behavior. These results may also apply to other organizations and members of those organizations. New interventions are needed to trigger students to make correct waste separation decisions where the actual decision making takes place.

    Research areas

  • recycling, waste separation behavior, determinants of behavior, intervention, university students, PLANNED BEHAVIOR
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019