An examination into recycling and waste management attitudes and behaviors by uk employees

Oliver Heidrich1, Joan Harvey1,2

1 School of Engineering; Newcastle University, NE1 7RU, United Kingdom
2 School of Psychology; Newcastle University, NE1 7RU, United Kingdom


This paper examines employees' work-related attitudes to recycling and waste management systems whilst retaining a link with personal domestic behavior. A questionnaire of 38 Likert-type items measured employee attitudes to environmental, waste management and recycling, environmental and sustainability concerns, perceived costs and benefits to the company. The hypotheses included demographic differences in attitudes, that attitudes and behavior are related and that behaviors transfer from home to work. The sample included 189 employees from 6 northern UK companies. A factor analysis reduced the attitudes items into four factors, being a positive approach to company recycling, that policies are needed, that recycling is costly to the company and that recycling can earn money. The factors were correlated with behavioral measures and compared by demographics and past recycling behavior using t-tests and ANOYAs.The results show differences in attitudes and behaviors by job type and age, that recycling at work and home are unrelated but that use of eco-friendly products is related to attitudes and concern about depletion of natural resources. The findings are discussed in terms of attitude theories, workplace behavior, training and communications about environmental and waste management in companies plus the transferability of these findings to other types of management systems, other sectors or regions.


industry; management system; policies; procedures; recycling; workforce

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