The Circular Economy: Motivating Recycling Behavior for a More Effective System
31 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 8, 2019
In the last few years, the circular economy has come to the foreground as a promising means through which to achieve sustainable development. In removing inefficiencies in production, many argue, a circular economy is beneficial not only for the environment, but also for the economy at large. However, there are still many barriers to overcome to move to a true circular economy. Among other things, because the circular economy concept stems from the engineering and economics literature, there has been much focus on the role of technology, governments and corporations in setting up and transitioning to circular economy policies and infrastructure. However, the human behavior aspect of the circular economy is often left out. In this paper, we categorize key barriers to individual recycling and propose promising solutions to motivate recycling based on behavioral science. Specifically, we find a promising model of behavior change in Mutual Health Organizations (MHOs), which allows individuals to act as their own experts and lead transition neighborhood habits on their own rather than being pressured by external forces. We describe parallels between the change mechanisms highlighted in well-known MHOs such as such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers and a French recycling start-up, Yoyo.
Keywords: Circular economy, recycling, behavioral science, Mutual Health Organizations, plastic, sustainability, entrepreneurship, social infrastructure
JEL Classification: M13, M14, Q57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation