Normative Influence on Household Waste Separation: The Moderating Effect of Policy Implementation and Sociodemographic Variables

Paul Blaise Issock Issock, Mornay Roberts-Lombard, Mercy Mpinganjira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: With the increasing production of domestic waste in South African urban areas, household waste separation has become a crucial recycling activity for better management of domestic waste and a decrease in environmental pollution. Focus of the article: This empirical study investigates how normative influences can shape the intention to separate household waste and how these influences are moderated by sociodemographic attributes and upstream social marketing interventions (recycling policy implementation). Research Hypotheses: The hypotheses stipulate that descriptive, injunctive, and moral norms have an influence on the behavioral intention to separate household waste before disposal. Policy implementation and sociodemographic variables moderate the impact of these normative forces on behavioral intention. Methods: A cross-sectional design was applied to this study. A survey was administered to collect quantitative data from 350 households residing in a city that is currently implementing a mandatory recycling policy (Johannesburg) and from 349 households in a city that is not doing so (Tshwane). Structural equation modeling and moderation analysis were the main data analysis techniques applied to this study. Results: The findings underline the importance of injunctive and moral norms in influencing the intention to separate household waste. Gender and age appeared to play an important moderating role in the relationships between norms and behavioral intention. Policy implementation had no effect on the reported influences of social and moral norms on the intention to separate household waste. Recommendations for Practice: Policy makers in emerging markets are encouraged to apply more persuasive and decisive actions such as financial incentives (or disincentives) that will motivate households to comply with recycling policies. Limitations: One limitation of this study is the application of a cross-sectional design relying on self-reported measures of norms and behavioral intention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-110
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Marketing Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • household waste separation
  • moral norms
  • policy implementation
  • social marketing
  • social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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