Residents’ waste management practices in a developing country: A social practice theory analysis

Anh Thu Nguyen*, Nhan Nguyen, Phuong Phung, Nguyễn Yến-Khanh

*Corresponding author for this work

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Waste management has become a growing concern globally and caused rising environmental costs in developing countries. The efficiency of a waste management system depends on many factors, including residents’ waste management practices and a governmental commitment to sustainable waste management. This study employs the social practice theory to qualitatively examine residents’ perspectives on waste management in the context of Vietnam as a developing country where a massive portion of plastic waste originates from household disposal. The research involves conducting twelve focus groups in five different research locations, including two largest cities and three coastal and marine protected areas. Data analysis is performed using inductive and deductive coding principles and an interpretivist approach. The findings reveal residents’ classification of sustainable and unsustainable waste management practices, and the factors that facilitate or impede sustainable waste management practices from residents’ perspectives. According to residents, while adequate technical infrastructures can facilitate sustainable waste management practices, it is the social context that motivates or demotivates and can mould a practice into a habit. The study therefore provides useful implications for sustainable waste management systems that would require the government's effective leadership and coordination of technical infrastructures as well as the orchestral efforts from involved social institutions, including families, communities, businesses, formal and informal waste sectors, and social organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100770
JournalEnvironmental Challenges
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by Pacific Environment and Resources Centre the United States [Grant 2019]; and RMIT University Vietnam [Grant 052014]. The authors would like to thank Nguyen Thi Huong Giang for her contribution to data collection. The authors thank Cimigo Vietnam, the World Wildlife Fund Vietnam (WWF), the Green Hub, and the Centre for Marine Life Conservation and Community Development Vietnam (MCD) for their assistance in sample recruitment.

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