People, plastic, and behaviour change – a comment on drivers of plastic pollution, barriers to change and targeted behaviour change interventions†
There are many studies considering the use and waste management of plastics but these are primarily focused on recycling. While studies of human interaction with plastics provide some insight into current waste creation and recycling choices, studies on behaviour change and the human relationship to plastic are limited. In this perspective, we pose that understanding individual and community behaviour change is key to determining effective and sustainable drivers of change in the use of plastics. A review of contemporary literature highlights this as a knowledge gap, with only a few studies undertaken which have primarily focused on the theory of planned behaviour and plastic waste. To help support more sustainable and effective plastic use and waste management policy, it is recommended that future research focus on behavioural aspects of the plastic–people relationship with a focus on the Behaviour Change Wheel and the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation model (COM-B), to advance current understanding of individuals' behaviours relating to plastic use and waste. It is suggested that understanding the behavioural elements of the people–plastic relationship is fundamental to identifying effective and sustainable changes in behaviour and the guidance, policies, opportunities, and restrictions that can help achieve change.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Environmental Science: Advances - Recent Review Articles, A collection of papers from RSC journals on chemistry and the circular economy, Environmental Science: Advances - Hot Papers in 2022 and World Earth Day 2023