Behavioural processes behind the low sorting rate of municipal solid waste in Latvia

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Unlike some European Union countries, Latvia still faces the challenge of improving its municipal waste recycling and landfill disposal rates. Evidently, the countries that met their target recycling and landfill disposal rates rely on household participation, specifically municipal solid waste sorting of citizens. Despite the efforts made by the Latvian authorities, the municipal waste sorting behaviour of Latvian citizens remains quite low. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the behavioural processes that explain the low municipal solid waste sorting rate of Latvian citizens to develop recommendations to Latvian authorities on how to improve the municipal waste sorting behaviour of Latvian citizens. This study built a qualitative system dynamics model based on the existing literature, validated the behavioural theory through disconfirmatory interviews and analysis of formal documents, and incorporated additional insights of Latvian citizens into the behavioural theory. The empirical testing shows that since municipal waste sorting is uncommon in Latvia, the citizens do not feel the social pressure to engage in waste sorting, leading to lower behaviour adoption. Next, the interviewees evaluated governmental efforts in improving the convenience, costs, and citizens’ knowledge of how and why to sort municipal waste as insufficient. Therefore, this study developed fourteen recommendations on how to improve the municipal solid waste sorting behaviour of Latvian citizens.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen