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The Demographics of Recycling and the Structure of Environmental Behavior

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Berger, I. E.





The influence of socioeconomic and demographic variables on environmentally responsible behaviors is examined. Analysis of data compiled by Statistics Canada from 4.;000 households indicates that socioeconomic and demographic variables play an important role as antecedents to such behaviors. The results show that size of residential area, type of dwelling, education, and income are significant determinants of whether recycling facilities are available and used. Furthermore, having convenient access to a recycling program mediates the relationship between socioeconomic factors and recycling practice. Analyses also show that environmental behaviors are structured around specific environmental issues such as water, energy, or waste disposal and suggest that recycling may operate as a first step toward the adoption of other behaviors. The implications of these results for activists and policy makers are highlighted.