Circular economy
: behaviours, attitudes, and knowledge of college students in Portugal

  • Márcia Neto Alves (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The growing threat of climate change and the scarcity of resources have posed challenges to the planet's long-term viability. It is in this framework that the need to move towards a sustainable economic model arises. As a result, the circular economy emerges as a feasible alternative to the linear economy, aiming to limit the consumption of virgin raw materials and close product life cycles. Instead of discarding goods as waste, the circular economy aims to reintroduce them into the market through procedures such as reuse, recycling, and repair, among others. However, the transition not only implies an effort of industries, governments, and businesses but also the efforts of consumers. Consumers play a key role in this economic transition since the consumer initiates the entire supply chain process. As a result, consumer participation and interest determine whether circular models succeed or fail. Given the importance of the consumer in the economic transformation, this dissertation aims to evaluate the behaviours and attitudes of Portuguese college students toward the circular economy, as well as their level of awareness of the concept. To address the identified research questions, an online questionnaire was conducted. The results show that students have a positive attitude towards this type of economy and engage in circular behaviours. However, regarding less common circular behaviours and attitudes, students reveal a negative attitude and unwillingness to adopt actions related to the purchase of remanufactured and second-hand products, as well as new circular business models, such as product-service systems and sharing economy. Furthermore, students associate the circular economy concept not only with the recycling principle and 4Rs but also with the principles of zero waste and shared resources, associating less with the premise of closing the life cycle of products/materials.
Date of Award12 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorAlberto João Coraceiro de Castro (Supervisor) & Alexandra Leitão (Co-Supervisor)


  • Circular economy
  • College students
  • Behaviours
  • Attitudes Knowledg
  • Portugal


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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