Published January 26, 2023 | Version v1
Book chapter Open

Behavior Change as Part of the Solution for Plastic Pollution

  • 1. University of Vienna


Problem awareness of the public and risk perception are important elements to understand people’s mental representation of a hazard, in understanding the “status quo”, of current beliefs and opinions (for more on risk perception see Felipe-Rodriguez et al. in this volume). Nevertheless, further actions need to follow if we want to change the “status quo” and encourage environmentally friendly behaviors. Therefore, the following chapter aims to provide an overview of how social and environmental psychology approaches focusing on behavior change can be applied to plastic pollution and in this way contribute to solutions. To clarify, environmental psychology is defined “as the discipline that studies the interplay between individuals and the built and natural environment” (Steg et al. 2018, 2). This chapter will introduce different theoretical models and approaches of behavior change,
followed by techniques used in the context of consumer-focused interventions. Moreover, we summarize potential barriers towards environmentally friendly behaviors known as “Dragons of Inaction”. Lastly, we emphasize the importance of intervention development, evaluation, and communication techniques firmly based on scientific evidence from social and environmental psychology. This chapter does not present a complete literature review on what has been done (for reviews see Heidbreder et al.
2019 and Nuojua et al. 2021). Instead, it aims to explain how interventions reducing plastic consumption can be developed using theories from psychology.


Grünzner & Pahl (2023) Behavior Change as Part of the Solution for Plastic Pollution Chapter.pdf

Additional details


LimnoPlast – Microplastics in Europe's freshwater ecosystems: From sources to solutions 860720
European Commission