Chapter 7: Understanding recycling behavior in the university: a case study from Southern Chile
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In Chile, as in the rest of the world, most higher education institutions present programs aimed at promoting sustainability on University campuses. Although several empirical examples are known, most sustainability initiatives tend to disappear after few years or even months of operation. This has been the trend in Universidad de La Frontera (Araucan'a, Chile), where at least five campaigns promoting waste recycling have started and been discontinued since the mid 1990s. Understanding the motivations that determine recycling decisions by students could be oriented to better implement these kind of campaigns. The objective of this work was to identify the main variables associated with recycling behavior and motivations for waste separation of students at Universidad de La Frontera (~ 9,000 students).Through an on-line survey, descriptive, behavior and motivational variables were collected identifying students who either separate waste for recycling (1), or not (0). Classification tree models were used to predict recycling by students employing as covariables descriptive and behavioral data. A total of 261 students were surveyed (~69% female, 30% male), 57% of them declared to separate waste for recycling. It was identified that students over 21 years of age, who have resided in rural environments and regularly practice physical activity, were the most likely to carry out waste separation for recycling. Of those students who separate to recycle, the highest motivating factor identified, was environmental concern (72%) considered an altruistic behavior, probably linked with their increased information/education. This type of studies could support recycling promotion plans, based on local empirical evidence. For example, in the field of environmental education, to prioritize physical activities that foster contact with the nature.

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