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Drivers of and barriers to consumers’ plastic packaging waste avoidance and recycling – A systematic literature review

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Plastic waste, primarily from packaging, is a growing threat to nature and the environment and a waste of resources, calling for a greener, circular economy based on waste avoidance and recycling. This paper contributes to this goal by providing a systematic review of research, published in English between 2015 and 2020, on drivers and barriers of consumers’ plastic packaging waste avoidance and recycling in private households. Focus is specifically on economically developed countries because they are responsible for the biggest share of plastic packaging waste and have implemented the most advanced and ambiguous legislation and regulation for plastic packaging waste prevention and recycling. Based on a search in Scopus, 36 peer-reviewed articles were identified that empirically address what motivates consumers to engage in these activities and what difficulties and hindrances they experience for doing so in an effective way. According to this research, the most important drivers of consumers’ plastic packaging waste avoidance and recycling are environmental concern and task-specific benefits, and the most important barriers are lack of knowledge and understanding as well as lack of opportunities, inconvenience, and task difficulty. Moreover, there is some evidence that plastic packaging waste avoidance and recycling behaviours are interlinked, contingent on shared motives and understanding, which calls for an integrated approach considering potential positive and negative spill-over between plastic packaging waste behaviours.

TidsskriftWaste Management
Sider (fra-til)63-78
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2022

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