Curbing plastic consumption: a review of single-use plastic behaviour change interventions

Kim Borg, Alyse Lennox, Stefan Kaufman, Fraser Tull, Renee Prime, Luke Rogers, Emily Dunstan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Globally, millions of tonnes of plastic waste enter the environment each year. Various solutions have been offered to address the problems associated with plastic waste, such as circular business models and increased collection and processing. However, most solutions rely to some extent on changing individual-level behaviour. This study aimed to understand the types and effectiveness of behavioural interventions that have been implemented to reduce consumption of single-use plastics among individuals. A rapid review of literature, supplemented by a practice review, was undertaken in March 2021. Overall, interventions which relied on policy/regulatory tools were effective in the short term. However, poor evaluation and short-term monitoring were noted as shortcomings. Similarly, voluntary behaviour change techniques were effective overall, but findings were mixed and modest. Importantly, while this review focused on individual-level behaviour change, findings highlighted that behaviour is often limited and enabled by other stakeholders, including businesses and governments. In conclusion, practitioners and policymakers designing future plastic reduction initiatives are advised to consider the bigger picture, engage with a variety of stakeholders, and utilise a combination of techniques which target multiple audiences within the system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131077
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2022


  • Behaviour change
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Intervention
  • Review
  • Single-use plastic

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