Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 8862–8874 | Cite as

Impact of regulatory focus on express packaging waste recycling behavior: moderating role of psychological empowerment perception

  • Feiyu Chen
  • Hong ChenEmail author
  • Jiahui Yang
  • Ruyin LongEmail author
  • Wenbo Li
Research Article


To effectively solve environmental pollution and resource waste problems caused by the rapid growth of express packaging waste, government intervention is needed in the separation and recycling of household waste at the source. Considering the correlation between behavior and individual psychological preference and concerns, this study administered a questionnaire survey (N = 847) and used factor analysis, hierarchical regression, and sensitivity analysis to evaluate the responses and determine the influence of individual focus tendency and empowerment perception on waste recycling behavior. The results showed that individuals with a high prevention focus or a high promotion focus were more likely to have good waste recycling behaviors. Furthermore, the higher the psychological perception of waste recycling empowerment (reflected in the meaning, competence, choice, and impact), the more inclined an individual to participate in recycling and waste reduction activities. In terms of interaction effect, psychological empowerment perception and its dimensions can positively moderate the effect of promotion focus on waste recycling behaviors. In other words, psychological empowerment perception acts as an “amplifier,” and its dimension of meaning was the most important moderating variable. The study results supported policy suggestions to promote individuals’ active participation in waste source separation and recycling activities.


Waste recycling behavior Regulatory focus Psychological empowerment perception Moderating effect 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2017XKZD12), the Social Science Fund of Jiangsu Province (18GLB015), Project funded by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2018 M640539), Jiangsu Philosophy and Social Sciences Excellent Innovation Cultivation Team (2017ZSTD031), the Think Tank of Green Safety Management and Policy Science (2018 “Double First-Class” Initiative Project for Cultural Evolution and Creation of CUMT 2018WHCC03), and the Scientific Research Project of Jiangsu Normal University (18XWRX018).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4416_MOESM1_ESM.docx (36 kb)
ESM1 (DOCX 35 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementChina University of Mining and TechnologyXuzhouChina

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