New routines a result of a selfreflexive attitude

Data and methods

This research is based on a quantitative survey that was performed in 1998 on a representative sample of about 3,780 households in Belgium, on the one hand (this survey is known as the Panel Study of Belgian Households [PSBH]). On the other hand, this contribution is also based on some fifty in-depth interviews (following the method of Kaufmann, 1996) which were conducted from 1997 to 1999, most often with couples, some with persons living alone and others with parents and children.

Two scores of environmentally friendlier actions are calculated: the first is related to the practices reported by the respondents on household waste-sorting (frequency and range of materials sorted); the second score relates to the practices and the criteria that the respondents have for their grocery shopping.3 Both scores have a maximum of four. They will be computed and compared for various categories of households, as explained below.

Constructing new routines

The following quotes set the stage by pointing out the difficulty in changing habits and thinking about practices that are normally routines, the fear of novelty or of not being able to do it, the necessity to — literally speaking — incorporate new gestures as well as, after some time, the easiness of new routines and some pride in having overcome this change: 'It was the unknown! Yes. It is stupid, isn't it? It messes up habits, also. But for me, it wasn't at all . . . Again new things! But no: it's for the better! It was the fact of beginning [that was difficult]. But now, there is no problem!' (Anita). '[My first reaction was that] I was bored! . . . Inconvenients are really minor according to the advantages that one can get from it. At one point, we thought that it would be beyond our competence but . . . now, it is incorporated into habits! Well, I speak about us. We are not even thinking of it anymore! I think we systematically do it and it doesn't bother me. Honestly, it doesn't bother me. I don't consider it an inconvenience' (Daniel).

The role of political pressure

According to our Belgian survey, the perceived pressure to sort household waste is related to both the frequency and the range of the types of waste sorted (the Pearson's correlation coefficient between the score of perceived pressure and the score of sorting is quite high: R2 = 0.40). When the respondents perceive a weak pressure to sort their household waste, they sort it all the more if they have a higher level of education. In Denmark, Jensen (1996) has also noted variations in the types of sorted waste and in the amount of residual waste according to neighbourhoods, which for him denotes socio-economic differences in standards of living. However, and back to Belgium, when a strong pressure is perceived, all households have the same score on sorting, whatever their education level (Table 7.1). Thus, the perceived external pressure plays an important role in influencing all households (whatever their socio-economic status) to sort their waste while at the same time the facilities provided, which are indissociable from this obligation, are certainly also encouraging them to do so.

In Holland, there have been a number of experiments with financial instruments based on the 'polluter pays' principle. In the town of Oostzaan, for example, households were charged according to the amount of collected waste. Within the first year, the amount of waste requiring collection fell by 38 per cent (Linderhof and Kooreman, 1998).

Table 7.1 Waste-sorting score according to the level of education and of perceived external pressure (mean scores out of 4)

Education level Weak pressure Strong pressure Total Perceived external pressure

Education level Weak pressure Strong pressure Total Perceived external pressure

Table 7.1 Waste-sorting score according to the level of education and of perceived external pressure (mean scores out of 4)

Sorting

N

Sorting

N

Sorting

N

Pressure

N

score

score

score

score

Primary

2.25

258

3.61

728

3.25

968

3.11

968

Low secondary

2.39

402

3.64

1,216

3.34

1,605

3.14

1,605

High secondary

2.60

468

3.68

1,497

3.43

1,940

3.17

1,940

Higher education

2.70

539

3.68

1,344

3.40

1,855

3.05

1,855

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998) (N = 6840).

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998) (N = 6840).

In the field of energy consumption, the importance of the context and especially the differences of energy policies carried on — or not — by Denmark and Belgium were also found to be quite useful in explaining the higher electricity consumption of Belgian households than of Danish ones; furthermore, these differences in energy policies may also be related to some differences in behaviours or proportions of households owning specific appliances in the two countries (Bartiaux and Gram-Hanssen, 2005).

The institutional context in which individuals operate is thus quite important and must be taken into account in the analysis, as recommended by Macnaghten and Urry (1998) and contrary to the third assumption, mentioned above, that they have often found in the literature.

The role of self-evaluation as a polluter or not

Another dimension of social representations on environment is the self-evaluation as a polluter or not, which was expressed by the following question: 'Do you consider yourself as someone who pollutes the environment?' This question comes from a French survey (Collomb and Guerin-Pace, 1998: 241). As in France, the majority of answers in Belgium are: 'Yes, as most people.' However, the proportions for this answer are quite different in both countries and it is difficult to propose a satisfactory interpretation of this difference (Table 7.2).

The best sorters are to be found among those who 'consider themselves as polluting the environment less than most people', which shows a consistency between self-evaluation and practice (Table 7.3). However, their score of sorting is nearly as high as the one obtained by the respondents who do not 'consider themselves as polluting the environment': do they grant themselves this positive evaluation thanks to their good practice in sorting waste, even if their score on 'green buying' is the lowest? Perhaps they think that this awareness when shopping only concerns other people: those who pollute the environment. In

Table 7.2 Self-evaluation as someone who pollutes the environment (France and in Belgium)

Do you consider yourself as someone who pollutes environment?

' the Belgium (%)

France (%)

No

30.0

20.0

Yes, but less than most people

31.0

23.0

Yes, as most people

38.6

55.8

Yes, more than most people

0.4

0.6

Total

100.0

99.4a

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998) (N = 6840). Source for France: Collomb and Guerin-Pace (1998: 241).

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998) (N = 6840). Source for France: Collomb and Guerin-Pace (1998: 241).

Note: a The French survey also included the categories 'Does not want to answer' (0.2 per cent) and 'no answer or does not know' (0.4 per cent).

Table 7.3 Mean score of environmentally friendlier action according to self-evaluation

Do you consider yourself as someone who p

ollutes the Household waste

'Green buying'

environment?

sorting

practices and

(score out of 4)

criteria

(score out of 4)

No

3.42

1.85

Yes, but less than most people

3.44

2.06

Yes, as most people

3.27

1.87

Yes, more than most people

2.89

1.89

Total

3.37

1.92

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998).

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998).

another publication (Bartiaux, 2002: 146—147), we have shown by several examples that in couples and families, some members are addressing silent injunctions to others in order to get him or her to do some task that they consider degrading.

Thus rationality and actors' strategy may sometimes consist in saying: 'Do yourself what I am preaching (or wishing for) and not doing!' The rational—actor paradigm does not take this kind of rationality into account, since it only considers the individuals' networks as motivators, not as surrogate actors.

Self-evaluation for being a polluter does not completely predict environmentally friendlier actions, especially when it comes to green shopping. These results also show that in Belgium in 1998, grocery shopping was unrelated to pollution and environmental considerations for 70 per cent of the people. In another publication based on more recent (2004) qualitative data (Bartiaux,

2005), I argue that acknowledging the systemic character of environmental matters seems to be a threshold and, when it is not acknowledged, consumers justify their behaviours with what may appear to an external observer as fragmented rationales.

The plurality of action rationales

Following Boltanski and Thévenot (1991), we have tried to use in our survey the different 'cities' and their justifications to get an indication on how people comprehend and problematize waste issues and potential solutions to them by adding the following question: 'According to you, what are the two principal solutions to solve the problems raised by waste?' and by proposing several 'solutions', which are based on the justifications shown by these authors:

• The civic justification based on collective involvement and equality ('By actions taken by the inhabitants in each neighbourhood').

• The industrial justification based on efficiency ('By improving industrial production systems').

• The domestic justification based on interpersonal relationships ('By actions taken in each household').

• The justification through opinions based on other people's acknowledgement ('By sensitization campaigns').

• The economic justification based on the market ('By developing the economic value of waste').

• The inspired justification based on creativity ('With imagination'). We have added three further justifications:

• The ecological justification based on a general change (Lafaye and Thévenot, 1993) ('By changing lifestyles').

• The political justification based on delegation ('By actions taken by public authorities').

• The international justification based on world conferences and events ('By actions taken by international organizations').

According to the answers to our survey, the best way to solve waste problems would be the ecological 'solution' (30 per cent) because, or in spite, of its vague character ('By changing lifestyles'). Other less often cited justifications include the domestic one, the industrial one and the economic one (about 15 per cent each). These last two justifications are most often cited as second choice (19 and 18 per cent, Table 7.4).

If we assume that the domestic answer denotes a sense of agency (a feeling of being able to act usefully — for example, for the environment) the result that 15 per cent of the Belgian population choose this answer tends to confirm the findings of Macnaghten and Urry for the United Kingdom: these authors have shown (by qualitative methods) mixed attitudes on personal agency with a strong mistrust towards institutions that should manage environmental changes

Greening some consumption behaviours 99 Table 7.4 Type of justification invoked to solve waste problems

In your opinion, what are the two main solutions to solve First Second Non-waste problems? They can be solved. . . (N = 6742) choice choice weighted total

By changing lifestyles

By developing the economic value of waste

By improving industrial production systems

By actions taken in each household

By actions taken by public authorities

By sensitization campaigns

By actions taken by the inhabitants in each neighbourhood

With imagination

By actions taken by international organizations

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998).

(1998: 246). They thus demonstrate that their results do not confirm the implicit assumption that 'sustainable development is based on a model of individual agencies', a model that they consider as too 'optimistic' (1998: 218).

As shown in Table 7.5, the solutions to solve waste problems according to the survey respondents are associated with the environmental actions they have done or have not done: those who answer 'By actions taken in each household' are the best sorters as well as those who choose the political solution, 'By actions taken by public authorities', which again shows the influence of social pressure on household waste-sorting. Besides, the respondents who choose the ecological 'solution', 'By changing lifestyles', are those who pay the most attention to environmental criteria when they do their grocery shopping; they are followed in this matter by the respondents who propose the domestic 'solution', 'By actions taken in each household'. The results for the domestic 'solution' give some more credit to the hypothesis according to which this 'solution' is a good proxy for the agency feeling.

The plurality of action rationales should also draw our attention to the need to avoid interpreting actions as 'environmental' actions that the consumers purposefully realized, for these actions may be defined quite differently by their authors. This shows the interest of linking a qualitative research to a quantitative survey. For example, a woman buys refills for packs of detergent because 'it's more convenient'. Another buys bottled water from her neighbour's shop, not for ecological reasons (less waste and less transport) but for 'good neighbourhood relationships'. These examples and many others show the necessity to split the action—rationality paradigm because the rationales are numerous. According to Bourdieu, there would be more 'intellectualist' situations and

Table 7.5 Mean score of environmentally friendlier actions according to the type of justification invoked to solve waste problems

In your opinion, what are the two main solutions to solve waste problems? They can be solved. . . (N = 6742)

Household waste sorting (score out of 4)

'Green buying practices and criteria

(score out of 4)

By actions taken in each household

3.55

1.93

By actions taken by public authorities

3.41

1.84

By changing lifestyles

3.37

1.98

By developing the economic value of waste

3.37

1.93

By improving industrial production systems

3.34

1.92

By actions taken by the inhabitants in each

neighbourhood

3.31

1.90

By actions taken by international organizations

3.26

1.91

By sensitization campaigns

3.13

1.78

With imagination

2.98

1.82

Total

3.37

1.92

Signification level (F)

0.0001

0.0001

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998).

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998).

more 'practical' situations. Between these two poles, the presence of reflexivity during action would be variable (Corcuff, 2002: 70).

The diversity of action involvement patterns should not be mistaken for the identity diversity, even though 'they join up ... to open new paths towards the study of individuality'; a challenge for sociology, according to Corcuff (2001: 111). In the following section, we will further investigate the notion of identity with a new concept: the secondary and non-conscious benefits. This again shows the inadequacy of the rational—actor paradigm as well as the notion of intentionality of action.

The secondary and non-conscious benefits

The in-depth analysis of the interviews has shown many secondary benefits that are non-conscious for the interviewed persons: a survey by questionnaire could thus not apprehend them, as these benefits are neither rational nor rationalized by the surveyed persons. However, these benefits are real ones, and they contribute to influence the practices of waste sorting. Indeed, to sort and to tidy up as well as to separate oneself from waste are means of identity management and spatial limits definition (Kaufmann, 1997).

These secondary benefits are associated with various identity dimensions: social, parental or conjugal. For instance, for a Spanish immigrant in Brussels, sorting her household waste gives her the benefit of feeling that she integrates herself as a good citizen ('I say that everyone has to make some effort'). A university researcher wants to keep up his social position, and his distinction (Bourdieu, 1979), by applying the new behaviour perfectly ('Since we have to do it anyway, I might as well do it correctly'). Mothers are often trying to defend their territory, which seems to be part of a mother's identity, by taking care of every task themselves, including sorting household waste (this even happens when their children already have a partial residential autonomy: 'they already have to be in charge of their household chores all week, so as they are not totally used to that, it's good for them to have someone else sorting out the leftovers during the weekends'). Secondary benefits can also be conjugal ones, as seen with several couples where the husband has taken over this new chore to counterbalance his weak involvement in other household chores.

For only one female interviewee, there are no secondary benefits and, contrary to all other respondents, she is ready to go back immediately and with no regrets to the previous situation (to the question 'If one was telling you: "It's finished, we stop it", what would you say?', she laughs and quickly answers 'Yes! I stop it!'). This woman is a cleaning lady who earns a low salary. It may be hypothesized that to draw secondary benefits depends on individual reflexive ability, and thus on education level and on social network, but this hypothesis should be further developed and tested.4 If it were empirically verified, this would mean that an a posteriori rationalization and reflexivity help support newly established routines.

A policy implication of these secondary and unconscious benefits is that the public interest to continue to participate in programmes of household waste sorting is often quite far from the environmental reasons that motivated these policies in the first place, as this interest is here clearly related to identity concerns (see also Rousseau and Bontinckx, Chapter 6, this volume).

No anticipation of sorting practices through grocery shopping criteria

For the defenders of the rational—action paradigm, the most surprising result is perhaps the striking lack of optimization of sorting practices through adequate shopping: the consistency between green grocery shopping and waste sorting is very weak (the correlation coefficient between these two scores is R2 = 0.058). While 66 per cent of the respondents may be considered as fair to very good sorters, the remaining one-third hardly or never sorts waste. But to the question 'Do you buy grocery taking into account the waste generated by what you buy?', only 15.1 per cent answer 'Often' or 'Always', and 57.1 per cent answer 'Never'! Even among the best sorters, the corresponding proportions are not so different: 18.7 per cent and 50.5 per cent. The in-depth interviews show the same mental separation between these two types of practices as shown by the following quotes: 'Quite frankly not. No, we had never thought about it' (Anita). 'It's not a criterion' (Frédéric). 'I'm not going to torture my brains to know what my shopping will produce as waste' (Christine).

Before trying to interpret this mental compartmentalization, let us underline that this process has been noted in other sociological research on environmentally related topics: as shown by Iversen (1996, cited in Halkier, 2001: 37), 'consumption practices are characterized by compartmentalization in relation to environmental consideration'. In research on young Danes consuming organic food, for example, Halkier met a young worker whose dream is to buy a car, and a young lady who is very concerned about her food but 'finds it tiresome to locate a bottle bank'. For Halkier, compartmentalization keeps 'green reflections out of certain practices' and by doing so, makes it possible 'to signal social normality' (2001: 39). Another interpretation, consistent with Halkier's, is that this com-partmentalization allows one to avoid adding a new identity dimension whose management would require a supplementary and 'never-ended physical and mental zapping' (Dortier, 1998: 52). Yet this zapping supposedly requires all the more energy that the dimensions to be conciliated are numerous (Bartiaux, 2002), whereas individuals are constantly choosing 'strategies that are cognitively economical' (Kaufmann, 2001: 211; Pacteau, 1999: 336). This mental compartmentalization is another process that invalidates the rational—action paradigm.

Yet another interpretation, I argue elsewhere (Bartiaux, 2005), is that this mental compartmentalization is a societal self-defence mechanism for avoiding a societal acknowledgement of the systemic characteristic of environmental issues. Not acknowledging this systemic character of environmental issues makes it possible to avoid abandoning our world socialization scheme as well as corresponding societal values seen as important in our societies, among which the myth of the mass-consumption society is prominent. This mental com-partmentalization may thus be interpreted as a means of avoiding a societal self-deception that would occur if our societies had to abandon its myths and its world socialization scheme.

The role of environmental knowledge

In 1998, in Belgium, only one person out of two knows that the Earth's climate is warming, and one out of three cannot answer the question: 'Do you think that in twenty years the Earth's climate will be: the same, colder, warmer?' More than half of the respondents (52 per cent) answer 'warmer', one-third do not know (32 per cent), 9 per cent think that the Earth's climate will be the same and the others estimate that it will be colder (3 per cent) or give no answer (3 per cent).

As a sociological study conducted in the United Kingdom revealed (Boardman et al., 2003), a majority of people are concerned neither with climate change or environmental issues, and for these authors general awareness of the level of CO2 emissions is insufficient in Europe. Climate change is an increasing topic in daily citizens' conversation but it is not perceived to be the most important of all environmental problems (Kasemir et al., 2000). People's knowledge on climate change is often confused with other problems such as ozone depletion or pollution, as we have also shown in the case of Denmark (Gram-Hanssen et al, 2005).

Table 7.6 Mean score of environmentally friendlier actions according to climate change knowledge

Climate change knowledge

Household waste sorting (score out of 4)

'Green buying' practices and criteria (score out of 4)

Bad (n = 641)

3.36

1.76

Weak (n = 1869)

3.37

1.88

Rather good (n = 2550)

3.37

1.97

Good (n = 756)

3.36

2.02

Total (n = 5816)

3.37

1.92

Statistical signification (F)

0.9405

0.0001

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998).

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998).

Household waste-sorting is largely independent of this knowledge whereas green buying practices and criteria are related to it: the better the knowledge, the higher the score (Table 7.6).

In general, and as shown in Table 7.7, respondents who know about global warming have a better knowledge about the factors involved: for example, they are less likely to answer 'I don't know' for each proposed item than in the total sample. However, the differences are weak and there is hardly any difference when it comes to factors that have no effects on climate change. Among the respondents who know about climate change, a certain proportion (45 per cent) think that residential heating is a factor of climate change and the comparison between their answers on the various proposed items enables one to raise the following hypothesis: when the factor is evoking the 'others' or the 'elsewhere' (factories, the Amazon rainforest and maybe car traffic), more respondents point out this factor of global warming than when they are directly concerned with the factor as residential heating. Although this hypothesis should be further tested, it may be interpreted as another example of mental compartmental-ization.

Answers given to the questions mentioned in Table 7.7 are combined in a score on climate change: the score varies from 1 to 10. Only 2.1 per cent of the sample answered the eight questions on climate change correctly and they score 10/10. Eleven per cent score 8/10 or 9/10. One-third of the sample has a score of 6/10 or 7/10, and 53 per cent have a score equal to or lower than 5/10. The average score on climate change is 4.9/10.

In Belgium, the score of knowledge on climate change is highest for respondents who answer 'Yes, more than most people'. Does this result suggest the difficulty of translating environmental information into practice, practice that would be reflected in the self-evaluation? Or does it suggest that for these better informed persons, the reflexivity level — in the sense of Beck (1992) — is higher and consequently the self-evaluation is more severe? Results displayed in Table 7.3 tend to support the first interpretation, as both scores on sorting and on shopping were low for these respondents.

Table 7.7 Knowledge on climate change factors

Population All respondents Only respondents who think that climate will warm up

In your opinion, what could modify the climate? Yes No Doesn't Yes No Doesn't know know

Car traffic

65.7

16.8

17.5

77.7

13.6

8.7

Pollution of underground water supplies

43.6

32.5

23.9

48.7

34.9

16.4

Residential heating

36.5

38.7

24.8

45.1

38.5

16.4

Nuclear plants

51.6

24.7

23.7

57.8

26.5

15.7

Dumping dangerous products in landfills

54.5

23.5

22.0

60.0

24.9

15.1

Factories' smoke

73.5

11.4

15.1

82.4

9.6

8.0

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest

72.0

8.3

19.7

81.8

7.8

10.4

Note for interpretation: values in grey show the correct answer.

Note for interpretation: values in grey show the correct answer.

Table 7.8 Mean score of climate change knowledge according to self-evaluation

Do you consider yourself as someone who pollutes the environment?

% (Belgium)

Climate score (out of 10)

% (France)

No

30.0

4.31

20.0

Yes, but less than most people

31.0

5.38

23.0

Yes, as most people

38.6

5.00

55.8

Yes, more than most people

0.4

5.55

0.6

Total

100.0

4.91

99.4a

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998) (N = 6840). Note: a See note to Table 7.2.

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998) (N = 6840). Note: a See note to Table 7.2.

The role of environmental representations

Are green consumption behaviours matching specific representations of the environment? Before answering this question, we first analyse with which word the word 'environment' is associated. A list of eighteen words, presented in alphabetical order, was proposed to the respondents; the word 'nature' was not included after the pre-tests had shown that this word was quoted too often.

The same choice has been made in a French survey (Collomb and Guerin-Pace, 1998: 22).

Table 7.9 shows that for the majority of respondents, the first word associated with 'environment' is 'air', the second is 'water', and the third is 'health'. These three words are quoted more often than the word 'ecosystem'. The analysis of these associations reveals that the choices of the participants to the survey are quite varied: it would thus be an error to think that the word 'environment' is generally associated with its scientific meaning represented here by 'ecosystem'. Another interpretation is that the representation of the environment may be partly considered as an anthropocentric one, as the word 'health' is so often quoted.

It seems consistent that the best score of knowledge on climate change is obtained by the respondents who have selected the word 'ecosystem' to be the most associated with 'environment': their climate score is 5.92/10. They are followed by the respondents who have chosen 'planet' (5.40), then 'water' (5.22), 'vegetation' (5.15), 'future' (5.09), and 'politics' (5.0). The lowest score (4.25) is obtained by the respondents who associate environment with 'countryside' or with 'family' (4.33).

Table 7.9 Words associated with the word 'environment' and climate

score

From the following

First word

Second word

Third word

Non-

Climate

list, choose three

associated

associated

associated

weighted

score

words which are

with

with

with

total

(out of 10)

in your opinion

environment

environment

environment

associated with:

Air

31.4

16.8

10

58.2

4.81

Animals

3.2

6.0

6

15.2

4.60

Future

5.1

5.7

6.6

17.4

5.09

Beauty

1.4

1.8

2.6

5.8

4.64

Calm

2.3

3.1

2.9

8.3

4.59

Countryside

4.3

5.7

5.4

15.4

4.25

Water

8.7

22.7

12

43.4

5.22

Ecosystem

9.0

5.9

7.1

22

5.92

Family

2.8

3.2

2.5

8.5

4.33

Mankind

4.3

5.4

6.1

15.8

4.90

Heritage

0.7

1.3

2.2

4.2

4.56

Planet

6.1

5.1

7.3

18.5

5.40

Politics

0.7

0.9

1.6

3.2

5.00

Present time

0.2

0.3

0.6

1.1

4.92

Health

16.9

9.8

12.8

39.5

4.65

Vegetation

2.0

4.8

9.7

16.5

5.15

Town

0.4

0.4

1.2

2

4.96

Neighbourhood

0.7

1.1

3.4

5.2

4.62

Source: all the respondents, PSBH (1998) (N = 7022).

To summarize all these results, an analysis of multiple correspondences is performed (Figure 7.1). The vertical axis may be interpreted as the external pressure, which is high in the lower part of the graph and low at the top; this axis also shows the voluntary actions as opposed to those done under public constraint. The horizontal axis at the left shows the actions that are friendlier for the environment and at the right the actions that have a negative impact on it. It is possible to define four groups. In the upper right quadrant one notices the group of indifferent people: these people do not feel obliged to sort their household waste and they do not do it; nor do they pay attention to environmental criteria for their grocery shopping. They associate the word environment with words such as countryside, calm and neighbourhood. The lower right quadrant represents refractory persons who are obliged to sort their waste but do not do it; no word appears to characterize this group. The next quadrant, the lower left, brings together the reacting persons: they sort household waste because they feel obliged to do so and sometimes they have 'green' criteria for their grocery shopping; they associate the word environment with 'future', 'air' and 'health'. Finally, the upper left quadrant shows the proactive households (they sort household waste without feeling obliged to do so and they have green

♦ Sorting practices ■ Shopping criteria a Words

grocery always

heritage

weak pressure 2 and sorting ^

>olitics

A ecosystem

. beauty ' calm

■ grocery often

weak pressure and no sorting

A countryside lankind

A vegetation

1 grocery sometim .5 -1 -0.5 B I future ♦ A

es animals 'grocery never

) 0.5 "1 1.5 2 2.5 ; water air town

and sorting health

neighbourhood strong pressure ♦ and sorting

-1

Actions with negative impact on environment

Actions with negative impact on environment

Figure 7.1 Analysis of multiple correspondences on sorting practices groups, shopping criteria groups and words associated with 'environment'

consumerism criteria and practices) for whom 'environment' is related to 'planet' and 'ecosystem'.

The cognitive frameworks thus appear to be continuously adapted according to practical choices, and it seems exaggerated to say that they determine these practices as the influences could be reciprocal. In-depth interviews also show that the demand of identity continuity requires mental arrangements, such as occultation, accentuation and so on. For example, several people have related their new sorting behaviours with their old habits of avoiding throwing papers away without asking themselves why they never made this association before the new policy on household waste. Similar results have been obtained in France by Lhuilier and Cochin (1999).

This association between practices and perceptions is also visible in the perception of political pressure for sorting household waste: on average, this pressure is felt more strongly (3.13 out of 4) by those who have not done an 'easy' environmentally related action (such as read an article on environment or look at a TV programme on this topic) than for those who have done it (3.08 out of 4). The difference is even higher (3.11 against 2.93) when it comes to activities that seem more 'difficult' such as voting for a green party, or participating in a collective action for the environment.

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