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Campus sustainability: An integrated model of college students’ recycling behavior on campus

Moonhee Cho (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 3 October 2019

Issue publication date: 4 October 2019




Proposing an integrated model based on multiple theoretical approaches, such as the theory of planned behavior, the model of goal-directed behavior and self-determination theory, the purpose of this paper is to examine factors influencing college students’ campus recycling intention and actual recycling behavior.


An online survey method was used to test the proposed model with college students. A total of 434 students participated in the survey.


This study found that self-determined motivation, attitude toward recycling, perceived behavioral control and negative anticipated emotion had direct effects on campus recycling intention, while recycling intention and self-determined motivation influenced students’ actual campus recycling behavior.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the study may not be generalizable to the broader population. Respondents’ self-reported assessment of their recycling behaviors may also be a drawback of the study. However, the study provides statistical evidence testing the proposed model of campus recycling.

Practical implications

The study’s findings provide communication planners for university recycling and sustainability departments with communication and message strategies to enhance college students’ recycling behavior.


The study proposes a more comprehensive, tailored model that integrates other compelling theoretical models, to address college students’ sustainability engagement on campus.



Cho, M. (2019), "Campus sustainability: An integrated model of college students’ recycling behavior on campus", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 1042-1060.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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