Public participation in recycling domestic waste is still very low in Malaysia. Only 10.5% of solid waste was recycled up to now which is far below than of in developed countries. Therefore, understanding public motivations towards recycling domestic waste are important to improve current recycling rate. Thus, this study attempts to identify what are the possible motivations and hindrances for the public to recycle. Open-ended questions format were administered to 484 people in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Two specific questions we asked to explore their general determinants and barriers in practicing recycling: “What motivates you to recycle?” and “What are the barriers you encountered in doing recycling activities?” Thematic was conducted on the open-ended questions in which themes were created with the raw comments. It was found that the underlying recycling motivations are (i) awareness’ towards the environment; (ii) benefits to the society and individual; and (iii) social influence. Non participations are influence by (i) attitudes; (ii) commitment; (iii) facilities; (iv) knowledge; (v) inconvenience; and (vi) enforcement.