Social Cognitive Theory and Reciprocal Relationship: A Guide to Single-Use Plastic Education for Policymakers, Business Leaders and Consumers

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Abstract: “Single-use plastic waste has become a growing concern in daily life. Community leaders are implementing programs to reduce the use of single-use plastic and change consumer behavior. This study, using the social cognitive theory framework for sustainable consumption, examines the reciprocal relationship among the following three factors: personal (green consumer values), environmental (bans and rebate/reward programs), and behavioral (consumer decision-making related to single-use plastic waste). The study surveyed consumers (N = 330) across the United States who watched a video on the effects of single-use plastic waste on health and well-being. The results indicate that states with bans or rebate/reward programs tend to have higher green consumer values and consumers in those states report less use of single-use plastic waste. Education level also has a significant impact on green consumer values and plastic waste usage.

The study provides a resource guide for decision makers to implement programs in five areas: (1) Business Resources, (2) Public Policy Resources, (3) Non-Profit Resources, (4) Education Resources, and (5) Personal Resources. The study also suggests potential areas for future research.

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