Publication Date



Sustainability Science


UNLABELLED: Understanding the use behaviours of plastic items within households is important to enable informed policy development, particularly with the emerging and developing global plastic treaty. A survey of 400 permanent residents in Portsmouth aimed to identify the general trends in single-use plastic product (SUPP) use and disposal, and their personal motivations and barriers to reducing and recycling plastic. This included identifying common influencers of attitudes such as environmental values, situational characteristics, psychological factors and the individual demographic characteristics of residents. Key factors in consumer behaviour were found to be product availability, affordability and convenience. Often, less conveniently recycled plastics more frequently end up in landfill such as films, shopping bags and personal care items. The age of respondents was found to be the most significantly associated demographic with SUPP consumption, reuse and recycling behaviours. Other demographic variables such as a resident's location within the city, income and vehicle ownership were potential drivers influencing individual attitudes and their incentives towards reducing and recycling their plastic waste. The findings from this study brought to light the importance of effective local plastic governance. This study also identified consumer perceptions and behaviours that could contribute to future holistic plastic policy recommendations.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11625-022-01261-5.


Single-use plastics, Recycling rate, Household waste generation, Sustainable consumption, Circularity, Consumer perceptions

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