Research article — Understanding who avoids single-use plastics and why: A cross-country mixed-method study
Article by L. HERWEYERS, I. MOONS, C. BARBAROSSA, P. DE PELSMACKER, E. DU BOIS
Publised in Journal of Cleaner Production
The production and consumption of single-use plastics (SUP) has disastrous consequences for the natural environment. Understanding which consumers are more likely to avoid SUP and why is crucial. Building on a comprehensive action determination model of ecological behavior, this study aims to specify the most relevant drivers and barriers to consumers’ intentions to avoid SUP. The results of a qualitative study (N = 32) and a quantitative study (N = 3,000), conducted across multiple countries (United States, Russia, and Belgium), reveal that positive attitudes and subjective norms regarding SUP alternatives enhance consumers’ intentions to avoid SUP. Our analysis also shows the existence of four consumer segments—SUP addicts, SUP avoiders, the apathetic, and situation-driven SUP users—who differ in their intentions to avoid SUP and their motivations. While habits in using SUP, and situational constraints and hygienic concerns regarding SUP alternatives do not play a significant role in the whole cross-national sample, they represent crucial barriers for specific segments such as SUP addicts and situation-driven SUP users. The study concludes with several marketing and design recommendations for promoting and developing reusable alternatives for single-use plastics.