Doyle, C. (2023). Investigating the attitude-behavior gap in adolescent plastic consumption. The Young Researcher, 7(1), 64-79. http://www.theyoungresearcher.com/papers/doyle.pdf
Since the mass production of plastic products began in the 1950s, it has been estimated that more than 6.9 billion metric tonnes of produced plastic have ended up in landfills and damaged ecosystems (Walker, 2021). Though there has been an increase in research surrounding the Green Gap - the difference between an individual’s the environmental values and their actual environmental behaviour - most studies ignore which attitudes and behaviours cause a decrease in plastic usage and instead focus on which behaviours and attitudes lead to the proper recycling of plastic products. Though there is an overlap between the environmental values that cause the proper recycling of plastic products and those that lead to a decrease in plastic usage, they are not the same and the conclusions drawn from one aspect of the Green Gap cannot be applied entirely to another (Barr, 2006). Additionally, such studies focus on adult participants, and neglect adolescents. However, Baludnė et al. (2020) assert that understanding and researching the environmental values of adolescents, or society’s future generation of consumers, is becoming increasingly important as we face a multitude of environmental issues such as climate change and environmental degradation. As a result, the present study intends to research the attitude-behaviour gap of plastic consumption among Canadian adolescents through a mixed-method approach. The study surveyed 41 participants to determine which social and familial factors most influence this attitude-behaviour gap. The results of this study indicate that there is an attitude-behaviour gap in adolescent plastic consumption and that the environmental values of an adolescent are more developed by the environmental values of their family members, causing social factors (such as the presence of peers) to act as situational factors to their attitude- behaviour gap.