Predicting the intention to sort waste at home in rural communities in Lebanon: an application of the theory of planned behaviour

Marco Bardus, May Massoud

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Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Lebanon have limited technical, economic, and social infrastructures to manage municipal solid waste properly. Understanding what motivates citizens to sort waste at home is paramount to designing effective, efficient, and equitable waste management interventions. Within the solid waste management project “RES-Q” in Southern Lebanon, we investigated the socio-cognitive predictors of waste sorting in a sample of 767 households from the targeted area using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Perceived behavioural control (β = 0.96, p < 0.001), perceived norms (β = −0.30, p < 0.001), and current behaviour (β = 0.06, p < 0.001) were the strongest predictors of intention; attitude toward separating waste was not a significant predictor (β = 0.04, p = 0.3881). Consequently, future behavioural interventions should build capability and opportunity to perform the behaviour before normalising it. For example, citizens should receive bins and bags to separate waste and be shown how to perform the behaviour and how easy and convenient it is to increase their behavioural control. In parallel, waste collection and treatment infrastructures must be in place so that citizens can see that sorting waste is a social norm. These actions will ensure the success of future behavioural interventions within the RES-Q project and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9383
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022


  • theory of planned behaviour
  • solid waste management
  • waste sorting and recycling
  • psychological factors


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  • RES-Q an ongoing project on municipal solid waste management program for the protection of the Saniq river basin in southern Lebanon

    Rashid, A., Aleik, K., Alloush, Z., Awada, N., Baraki, M., Bardus, M., Chaar, R., Chehade, B., Fakih, B., Foddis, L. M., Garau, C., Hajjar, R., Khattar, R., Massoud, M., Mockbel, M., Mohammad, A. & Montisci, A., 10 Sep 2021, Computational Science and Its Applications – ICCSA 2021: 21st International Conference, Cagliari, Italy, September 13–16, 2021, Proceedings, Part VIII. Gervasi, O., Murgante, B., Misra, S., Garau, C., Blečić, I., Taniar, D., Apduhan, B. O., Rocha, A. M., Tarantino, E. & Torre, C. M. (eds.). 1 ed. Springer, p. 536-550 15 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); vol. 12956 LNCS).

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