Standard Article

Environmental Consumer Behavior

Part 3. Consumer Behavior

  1. John A. McCarty1,
  2. L. J. Shrum2,
  3. Tina M. Lowrey2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem03022

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

McCarty, J. A., Shrum, L. J. and Lowrey, T. M. 2010. Environmental Consumer Behavior. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA

  2. 2

    University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Environmental consumer behaviors include the extent to which consumers buy environmentally friendly products, and dispose of product waste in an environmentally responsible manner. Polls have shown that a majority of consumers intend to act eco-friendly; however, their behaviors are not always consistent with their desires. Consumers' reluctance to buying green seems to relate to their perceptions of eco-friendly products. Green products are perceived as less effective and more expensive than alternatives. Furthermore, consumers are often skeptical of the claims made by environmentally friendly brands.

The extent to which consumers engage in recycling relates to the perceived inconvenience of recycling and consumers' attitudes about the importance of recycling. Research shows that psychographics and personality variables seem to have more impact on recycling attitudes than do demographics such as age and income. In particular, variables that have been shown to be related to recycling include materialism (the extent to which one attaches importance to possessions), collectivism (the extent to which one believes in the importance of the group over the individual), and locus of control (the extent to which people believe that they control their lives rather than that they are controlled by external forces).


  • eco-friendly products;
  • green consumer behavior;
  • environmentalism;
  • recycling;
  • psychographics