Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Landfill nation: What makes consumers less likely to recycle?

Date:
August 20, 2013
Source:
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
Summary:
Consumers are more likely to toss a dented can or a chopped-up piece of paper into the trash than to recycle it, according to a new study.

Consumers are more likely to toss a dented can or a chopped-up piece of paper into the trash than to recycle it
Credit: snyfer / Fotolia

Consumers are more likely to toss a dented can or a chopped-up piece of paper into the trash than to recycle it, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research that examines recycling habits.

"Although products that have changed shape are still recyclable, the likelihood of a consumer recycling a product or throwing it in the trash can be determined by the extent to which it has been distorted during the consumption process," write authors Remi Trudel (Boston University) and Jennifer J. Argo (University of Alberta).

The authors looked at how consumers treat products that have gone through physical changes during and after consumption that "distort" the product (but do not affect its recyclability). For example, a piece of paper might get crumpled up or torn into smaller pieces, or an aluminum can might get crushed or dented. And when that happens, people are less likely to recycle.

In one study, participants were asked to evaluate a pair of scissors. Some were asked to cut either one or two sheets of paper into smaller pieces, while other consumers were given a sheet of paper and asked to evaluate the scissors without cutting the paper. Everyone was then asked to dispose of the paper on the way out (next to the exit were two identical bins, one for trash and one for recycling). Consumers recycled the whole sheet of paper more often than the smaller pieces (regardless of the total amount of paper).

Around the world, more than two billion tons of trash is generated each year, with the United States throwing away more than any other country. Understanding why consumers throw recyclable products into the garbage instead of recycling them could help companies and public policy makers find novel ways to encourage consumers to step up their recycling efforts.

"These findings point to important outcomes of the post-consumption process that have been largely ignored and provide initial insight into the psychological processes influencing recycling behavior," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Remi Trudel, Jennifer J. Argo. The Effect of Product Size and Form Distortion on Consumer Recycling Behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, December 2013

Cite This Page:

Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Landfill nation: What makes consumers less likely to recycle?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113918.htm>.
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. (2013, August 20). Landfill nation: What makes consumers less likely to recycle?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113918.htm
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Landfill nation: What makes consumers less likely to recycle?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820113918.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) The New York City Police Department has ended a program that once kept tabs on the city's muslim population. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins