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The Role of Influencing Human Behavior to Drive a Circular Economy


The Recycling Partnership (TRP), a national nonprofit committed to improving recycling has released a new white paper titled, “Start at the Cart™: Key Concepts for Influencing Behavior to Drive a Circular Economy.” The paper offers insights on human-behavioral concepts and how to leverage them to successfully drive recycling actions and habits.

First, the paper observes that, “Like other behaviors…recycling behaviors are learned, adopted, prioritized, forgotten or overridden, restarted or remembered. Behaviors shift and evolve and devolve based on conditions and influences.” In other words, people and the decisions they make are shaped by many fixed and changing factors, all day every day. But, while there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution that will turn everyone into a “better” recycler, there is “a growing need and opportunity to connect people’s values to proper and repeated recycling behaviors and positive habits that can be repeated and eventually become natural.”

The paper then goes

on to discuss the “three stages” of influencing recycling behavior: infrastructure (the conditions that shape the opportunity and ability to recycle), knowledge (the specific information about what, when, and how to recycle), and engagement (“Can the person see or imagine themselves and their peers doing the recycling behaviors,” and do these behaviors align […]

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