New publication: Pro-environmental behavior regarding single-use plastics reduction in urban–rural communities of Thailand: Implication for public policy

Pro-environmental behavior regarding single-use plastics reduction in urban–rural communities of Thailand: Implication for public policy

In our ever-evolving world, the conversation surrounding environmental sustainability has reached a pivotal point. Among the various environmental challenges we face, the issue of single-use plastics (SUP) stands out prominently. These materials, designed for convenience, have become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, yet their environmental impact is staggering. Against this backdrop, a recent collaborative study sheds light on the dynamics of pro-environmental behavior (PB) concerning single-use plastic reduction in urban and rural communities of Thailand.

Published in the Nature journal portfolio “Scientific Reports”, the study delves into the intricate relationship between human behavior, societal norms, and environmental consciousness. Led by Oluseye Oludoye from Teesside University in collaboration with partners from Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), University of Lagos (Nigeria), Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), and University of California Davis (USA), the study presents a comprehensive analysis of residents’ attitudes and actions towards reducing SUP usage, with a particular focus on food packaging.

Study Design and Methodology

The research team embarked on a multifaceted approach, employing both quantitative and qualitative methods to capture the nuances of pro-environmental behavior across diverse demographic landscapes. The study spanned two distinct locales in Thailand: the idyllic Sichang Island, representing a rural setting, and the bustling metropolitan area of Nonthaburi municipality in the city of Bangkok.

A total of 565 participants were surveyed, comprising 255 residents from Sichang Island and 310 from Nonthaburi city. Utilizing Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), the researchers analyzed the data to discern the underlying factors influencing individuals’ SUP reduction behavior.

Key Findings

The findings of the study offer intriguing insights into the drivers of pro-environmental behavior within different community contexts. While the prevailing assumption often attributes PB to rational decision-making processes, the study reveals a more complex interplay between rationality and morality models.

Interestingly, the results indicate that while morality emerged as a significant factor in justifying SUP reduction behavior across both rural and urban populations, the relative emphasis on rationality varied between the two settings. Rural residents demonstrated a stronger reliance on rational deliberations, whereas urban counterparts exhibited a greater alignment with moral norms in guiding their actions.

Implications for Policy and Future Research

The implications of this study extend beyond academic discourse, offering valuable guidance for policymakers and environmental advocates alike. By recognizing the distinct motivational drivers shaping individuals’ behaviors in different settings, policymakers can tailor interventions and initiatives to effectively target specific communities.

Furthermore, the study underscores the need for continued research in understanding the intricate interplay between human behavior, societal norms, and environmental stewardship. Future investigations could explore additional contextual factors and cultural influences to further refine our understanding of pro-environmental behavior dynamics.


As we navigate the complexities of environmental sustainability, studies like these serve as beacons of insight, illuminating the path towards a more sustainable future. By unraveling the multifaceted nature of pro-environmental behavior, this collaborative endeavor underscores the importance of holistic approaches in addressing pressing environmental challenges.

For those eager to delve deeper into the study, the full paper is available for reference here (, offering a comprehensive exploration of the intricate dynamics surrounding single-use plastic reduction in Thailand.

Let us embark on this journey of discovery and action, united in our commitment to safeguarding our planet and shaping a more sustainable future.

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