Attitudes, norms, identity and environmental behaviour: Using an expanded theory of planned behaviour to predict participation in a kerbside recycling programme


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Dennis Nigbur, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU, UK (e-mail:


In an effort to contribute to greater understanding of norms and identity in the theory of planned behaviour, an extended model was used to predict residential kerbside recycling, with self-identity, personal norms, neighbourhood identification, and injunctive and descriptive social norms as additional predictors. Data from a field study (N =527) using questionnaire measures of predictor variables and an observational measure of recycling behaviour supported the theory. Intentions predicted behaviour, while attitudes, perceived control, and the personal norm predicted intention to recycle. The interaction between neighbourhood identification and injunctive social norms in turn predicted personal norms. Self-identity and the descriptive social norm significantly added to the original theory in predicting intentions as well as behaviour directly. A replication survey on the self-reported recycling behaviours of a random residential sample (N =264) supported the model obtained previously. These findings offer a useful extension of the theory of planned behaviour and some practicable suggestions for pro-recycling interventions. It may be productive to appeal to self-identity by making people feel like recyclers, and to stimulate both injunctive and descriptive norms in the neighbourhood.