Notre Dame student researches recycling behaviours

20 November 2019

Susann Noé, a research student at the School of Business (Sydney) of the University of Notre Dame Australia, recently presented at the 2019 Waste and Recycle Conference in Perth where she discussed her research in environmental psychology with environmental educators and peers from the recycling industry.

Susann also submitted a formal research proposal to the School of Business Research Committee this month, and her research study, which is in the early stages, has gained funding support from WA's Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). The study will investigate household disposal practices, with the aim to understand how daily practices form, reoccur and change, and what the barriers to sustainable practices and the use of recycling schemes in Australian homes are. “A mobile research app will be given to study participants to observe and collect data of people’s daily disposal practices,” says Susann. The novel method has never been applied in an Australian environmental study before and will contribute to enriching environmental campaigns such as CDS education programs to encourage people to build better recycling practices and make use of recycling schemes.

“Traditionally, environmental education would address individual’s environmental knowledge and attitudes with the aim to make people behave in a more eco-friendly way,” Susann explains. “However, we now know that knowledge about environmental issues and positive attitudes towards being more sustainable do not translate into pro-environmental behaviour directly. People do not always behave essentially rational and often external factors and daily habits or practices can override all good intentions.” This is why Susann is shifting the focus from people's conscious minds, their knowledge and attitudes to subconscious daily practices automated and ingrained into our lives.

Susann is a member of the Australian Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association (WMRR) and actively involved in the NSW Waste Educator working group, and Secretary of the Young Professional working group. Susann is passionate about sharing her work with others and learning more about how to bring the recycling sector forward in Australia.


Media Contact
Nancy Merlo : +61 2 8204 4044 | +61 0415 517 589 | nancy.merlo@nd.edu.au