Promoting the transition to a circular economy: a study about behaviour, attitudes, and knowledge by university students in Portugal

Márcia N. Alves, Carlos Seixas, Alberto Castro, Alexandra Leitão*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Younger and highly skilled generations are one of the major driving forces of a successful transformation to a circular economy (CE); therefore, this paper intends to assess the prevalent behaviour, attitudes, and knowledge of the CE by university students. The study focuses specifically on Portuguese students. Some new conclusions were added to the existent literature. Our conclusions show that, although students engage in several types of CE behaviour and have positive attitudes, these mostly include actions such as reducing food waste, recycling practices, or purchasing energy-efficient products. Circular consumption habits like remanufactured products, second-hand purchases, the sharing economy, and product-as-a-service systems (PSSs) still need further implementation. However, we determine that the level of knowledge of the CE goes beyond the conventional recycling premise. Moreover, we have included an innovative part, based on a probit model, by studying how knowledge of the CE affects students’ behaviour and attitudes and conclude that it positively influences them. Other variables such as age, gender, and level of education are also found to influence actions and attitudes. As a result, this study can significantly improve the overview of the current situation and provide a starting point for measuring the effectiveness of future policies to be defined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number343
Number of pages22
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Behaviour
  • Circular economy
  • Knowledge
  • Portugal
  • University students

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