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Waste problem in European Union and its influence on waste management behaviours


Waste generation is a critical problem globally and even in the European Union (EU). In EU countries, significant differences have been observed in terms of municipal waste generation. The level of waste generation significantly depended on economic development. The most effective tools for solving the waste problem should be the enhancement of reducing, reusing, and recycling behaviours. However, our results revealed that the level of reducing and reusing behaviours insignificantly influenced waste generation. Thus, countries seeking to minimize waste generation should also pay more attention to the promotion of sustainable consumption and production. Meanwhile, the relationship between recycling behaviour and waste generation was positive and statistically significant. Analysing the determinants of waste management behaviours, attitude to personal waste generation significantly contribute to all waste management behaviours. Meanwhile, attitudes to general waste management significantly but negatively influence waste reducing and recycling behaviours. Thus, only these respondents who understand that they personally contribute to waste problem, more perform waste management behaviours. Furthermore, the efforts to reduce waste significantly influenced only recycling behaviour while attitude to resource efficiency insignificantly determined all waste management behaviours, revealing that people in the EU have a lack of knowledge about the relationship between waste reduction and resource efficiency.


Keywords: Waste management; recycling; waste minimisation; EU; Waste policy; attitude to waste generation.


Impact Factor: 4,610 (2017 Journal Citation Reports, Clarivate Analytics, 2018)





Minelgaitė, A., Liobikienė, G. 2019. Waste problem in European Union and its influence on waste management behaviour. In Science of the Total Environment. Vol. 667, p. 86–93; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.313; [Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index].


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