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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Bringing habits and emotions into food waste behaviour

Bringing habits and emotions into food waste behaviour

This study examined consumer food waste behaviour using a comprehensive model integrating the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), the theory of interpersonal behaviour, and the comprehensive model of environmental behaviour. Using a temporally lagged design, one hundred and seventy-two respondents answered four questionnaires over a period of 14 months. Questionnaires measured emotions in relation to food waste, habits, the TPB variables, intention to reduce food waste, and self-reported food waste behaviour. Results showed that the less well-studied variables of habits and emotions were important determinants of participants' intentions to reduce food waste and their current food waste behaviour. As expected, we found that negative emotions were associated with greater intentions to reduce food waste, but contrary to our predictions they were also associated with higher levels of food waste behaviour. In other words, participants who experienced more negative emotion when thinking about food waste intended to reduce their waste but actually ended up wasting more food. Results also show that participants with a greater sense of control and more normative support for reducing food waste also had stronger intentions to engage in the behaviour. Our findings extend existing understanding and underscore the importance of the non-cognitive determinants of behaviour, namely emotions and habits. The implications for research and practice are discussed.

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Resources, Conservation and Recycling 125, 107-114.

Resource Type:

Date of Publication:
October 2017

Associated Sectors:


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