The value-action gap in waste recycling: The case of undergraduates in Hong Kong

Shan Shan CHUNG*, Monica Miu Yin Leung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The discrepancy between verbal and actual commitment in waste recycling and environmental behavior is thought to have attenuated the effectiveness of many environmental policy and measures. Studies purport to show the existence of such a value-action gap in environmental issues has been largely based on matching the verbal commitment to environmental value through self-reported environmental behavioral data. Therefore, there is a lack of direct evidence to prove that such a discrepancy exists. This study demonstrates a methodology (contrasting on-site observation with self-reported results) to measure the gap between verbal commitment and actual recycling behavior and provides an explanation on the recycling behavior of students at Hong Kong Baptist University in the hope that the lessons learnt can be generalized to a wider context. Our findings indicate that a gap between verbal recycling commitment and corresponding action does exist in waste recycling on this university campus. By using multiple linear regression analysis, we found that the self-reported recycling behavior of undergraduates cannot be meaningfully explained by most variables previously suggested in the general value-action model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-612
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Recycling commitment
  • Undergraduates
  • Value-action gap


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