Recycling behaviour and attitude: the case of the hong kong people and commercial and household wastes

S. S. Chung*, C. S. Poon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing environmental awareness caused by the green movement has led to changes in attitude towards our traditionally wasteful society. Recent surveys in Hong Kong have shown that waste recycling has gained increasing verbal support among its citizens. This paper reports on recent findings which reveals that some discrepancies exist between people’s attitude and behaviour towards waste recycling. The implication of this phenomenon on how and when a waste recycling policy should be carried out is considerable. Two major types of barriers to waste recycling and reduction were evident.Technical barriers to recycling included lack of appropriate information, lack of conveniendy located bins and of temporary storage space, whilst the most critical barrier to paper waste recycling was the presence of non-recyclable materials in some paper items. Psychological barriers included the attitude of being troubled, and that too litde waste was involved to be worth the effort. Technical barriers were found to dominate in commercial paper waste recycling, and can usually be overcome while psychological barriers were more significant in household waste recycling and are more difficult to solve. Thus, it might be concluded that, if a large scale household waste recycling programme were in place in Hong Kong, more effort should be devoted towards educating the public, to eliminate as many psychological barriers as possible. Findings from attitude surveys on recycling can provide valuable information for policy makers. However, a review of the literature indicates that findings from attitudinal and self-reported behavioural surveys may exaggerate the proportion of those who have a favourable attitude towards the surveyed subject matter. Thus, it is prudent for policy makers to consider the response rate of the surveys also.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-145
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1994

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • recycling behaviour
  • recycling attitudes
  • commercial waste
  • household waste
  • Hong Kong
  • diversion rate
  • participation rate


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