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Barriers and Enablers to Buying Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic Packaging

Allison, AL; Lorencatto, F; Michie, S; Miodownik, M; (2021) Barriers and Enablers to Buying Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic Packaging. Sustainability , 13 (3) p. 1463. 10.3390/su13031463. Green open access

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Abstract

Biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging (BCPP) has the potential to reduce a global plastic waste problem. We aimed to identify influences on buying BCPP as a basis for designing strategies that enable BCPP’s environmental benefits. Using a UK-focused citizen science dataset, we thematically analysed 610 survey responses to a question exploring reasons for BCPP purchase. Themes are categorised as barriers and enablers and according to the components of the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation, and Behaviour (COM-B) model of behaviour. Key barriers concerned: psychological capability (not understanding terminology used to label packaging, not taking notice of packaging, and preferring other types of packaging and product qualities); reflective motivation (negative beliefs about BCPP’s environmental impacts and skepticism over decomposition claims), and physical opportunity (no access to appropriate waste management). Key enablers concern: reflective motivation (positive beliefs about BCPP’s environmental impact and resolve to behave pro-environmentally) and physical opportunity (access to appropriate waste management). Reducing ambiguity concerning the labels of biodegradable and compostable may reduce skepticism over environmental claims of packaging. Interventions should improve information about the source of the packaging material, how the packaging waste is processed, and how to dispose of the packaging. This will not be sufficient unless facilities for local BCPP waste collection and processing are increased.

Type: Article
Title: Barriers and Enablers to Buying Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic Packaging
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/su13031463
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3390/su13031463
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Biodegradable plastic; compostable plastic; plastic packaging; plastic waste; behaviour change; circular economy; citizen science; COM-B; sustainability; consumer behaviour
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121718
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