New behavioural “barrier-based” framework for sustainable plastic management

Plastic Ocean Pollution

A new framework developed and tested by researchers at Ritsumeikan University claims to identify barriers and context-specific measures for plastic use and disposal.

Researchers from Ritsumeikan University say they have developed a new behavioural barrier-based framework, which can serve as a guide to policymakers, encourage better practices and improve the environment in a “context-specific manner.”

This frame is not restricted to plastic waste and can be applied to other waste-related problems requiring interventions for desirable behavioural changes, the University says.

To address plastic pollution, researchers from Ritsumeikan University have developed and tested a new framework called the Behavioural Barrier-Based Framework (BBBF).

The University says this method, which has been reported in an article made available online on 15 December 2022 and is set to be published in Volume 384 of the Journal of Cleaner Production on 15 January 2023, identifies suitable intervention methods from infinite possibilities in a context-specific manner.

The lead researcher of this study, Professor Takuro Uehara, from the Department of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, explained the study by saying: “This study proposes a new framework, the BBBF, for enabling policymakers to select effective intervention measures to promote people’s sustainable plastic use and disposal.”

This study proposes a new framework, the BBBF, for enabling policymakers to select effective intervention measures.

The proposed framework has a four-step process. Step one involves setting policy targets. Step two identifies desirable behavioural changes to attain the policy targets. Step three identifies critical barriers to desirable behavioural changes.

Finally, step four involves interventions that will directly impact policies by inducing desirable behavioural changes.

The University says the researchers tested the application of BBBF in Kyoto City, where Ritsumeikan University is located, and identified proposed measures and stakeholders who could be influenced to remove barriers to desirable behavioural change toward sustainable plastic use and disposal.

Policy targets, desirable behavioural change, barriers to behavioural change, proposed intervention measures and feasibility have been included in the article as an outcome of their study, the University says.

In the context of Kyoto City, the study revealed 15 types of potential desirable behavioural changes,  3 types of critical barriers, and 16 corresponding intervention measures to attain the four policy targets.

The researchers suggest that BBBF can help sustainably induce desirable behavioural changes to achieve the city’s established policy targets of reduced plastic use and waste and improved plastic-waste sorting. Effective intervention measures can tackle the critical barriers to achieving behavioural change toward sustainable plastic use and disposal, the University says.

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