Conservation-Wise Consumers: Recycling and Household Shopping as Ecological Behavior

Angela Ebreo
Joanne Vining

DOI: 10.2190/C7MF-45UG-EH8B-963E


This study examines environmentally-responsible consumerism, its relation to self-reported recycling behavior, and the influence of experience with solid waste management issues and of the sociopolitical environment surrounding waste management on consumers' beliefs. A mail survey of 654 randomly selected adults living in rural and urban communities in central Illinois assessed their participation in recycling programs and reactions to attributes of consumer products said to have favorable environmental consequences. Respondents rated the importance of fourteen product attributes. These ratings were then correlated with the respondents' self-reported recycling behaviors. The results showed the public does attend to the environmental consequences of its purchases. Recycling behaviors and environmentally-responsible consumerism were related, although weakly, and seem to be connected to the public's view of the conservation of natural resources. Contrary to expectations, the reactions of rural and urban residents did not differ, indicating that the recycling experiences and solid waste management policy experiences of these residents did not influence their reactions.

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