Applying the SOR framework to mitigate single-use plastic tableware consumption and why does it work? Solving the dissonance with an extended SOR framework

Lilach Rinot Levavi, Enav Friedmann, Tehila Kalagy, Chen Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although plastic pollution is a critical environmental issue worldwide and household consumption of single-use plastic tableware (SUPT) is a growing concern, research on the determinants of SUPT use is deficient. In light of the prevalent and frequent use of SUPT, the far-reaching nature of its consumption, and its distinctive health concerns, compounded by the lack of dedicated regulations, this article sheds light on the SUPT problem and strives to minimize SUPT consumption. The Stimulus-Organism-Response (SOR) framework has been extensively applied in various contexts but not yet in the context of household SUPT consumption. In this study, we aim to fill the lacuna by examining the motives behind SUPT consumption using two online questionnaires in two Western countries that are known for relatively high domestic SUPT consumption: Israel (Study 1, n = 408) and the USA (Study 2, n = 295). Our findings indicate that personal attitudes toward the plastic problem (“organism” in the SOR taxonomy) mediate the relation between plastic health problem awareness (“stimulus”) and SUPT consumption (“response”). Moreover, we identified perceived behavioral control (PBC) as a significant predictor of behavior when behavior is not under volitional control (i.e., an action against the individual's self-interest), as in the SUPT context. Therefore, we propose expanding the SOR framework with the organism comprising attitude and PBC, thus supporting the dissonance theory (double mediation). We suggest that modifying personal attitudes toward the plastic problem by enhancing plastic health problem awareness may strengthen PBC and reduce SUPT consumption. Overall, this study deepens our understanding of SUPT consumption by highlighting the importance of attitude and PBC as mechanisms that link awareness to sustainable behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119344
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume348
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

Keywords

  • Attitude toward plastic problems
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Domestic single-use plastic tableware
  • Perceived behavioral control
  • Plastic health problem awareness
  • SOR framework

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