The Circular Economy: Motivating Recycling Behavior for a More Effective System

31 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2019

See all articles by Emma Barnosky

Emma Barnosky

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Magali A. Delmas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Marieke Huysentruyt

HEC Paris

Date Written: October 8, 2019

Abstract

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

Barnosky, Emma and Delmas, Magali A. and Huysentruyt, Marieke, The Circular Economy: Motivating Recycling Behavior for a More Effective System (October 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466359 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3466359

Emma Barnosky

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Magali A. Delmas (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Marieke Huysentruyt

HEC Paris ( email )

1 rue de la Liberation
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

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