Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A towel less: How psychologists harness sociability to cut waste

Date:
March 24, 2014
Source:
Université du Luxembourg
Summary:
Hotel guests can be gently persuaded to reduce the number of towels they use each day, psychology researchers have found. With fewer towels to wash, this reduces the waste of water, energy and detergent. This is good news for the environment and it cuts costs, so enabling hotels to reduce prices.

Hotel guests can be gently persuaded to reduce the number of towels they use each day, psychology researchers at the University of Luxembourg have found. With fewer towels to wash, this reduces the waste of water, energy and detergent. This is good news for the environment and it cuts costs, so enabling hotels to reduce prices.

Two hotels in Swiss and Austrian ski resorts helped with an experiment in early 2013. Three different signs were placed separately in different bathrooms, all of which gently reminded guests of the environmental impact of towel use. However, one of the signs added that: "75% of guests in this hotel reuse their towels" with another sign talking of: "75% of guests in this room" reusing. 132 guests participated in this field experiment. Signs were in German and English, so would have been understood by guests in these Alpine resorts.

"We found that guests cut their towel use significantly when told of the behavior of previous guests in their room," said the lead researcher Dr Gerhard Reese. In the "room" scenario, guests used, on average, one towel per person per day. This compared with 1.6 towels per person per day for those told of behavior in the hotel as a whole. This amounted to a 40% saving in the number of towels needing to be washed.

Subtle social pressure

These results are consistent with a handful of similar studies conducted in the USA. "Humans are social beings," explained Dr Reese. "People want to be accepted into groups and so we act in ways that make us belong. Instinctively, we feel close to those who have used a hotel room before us, believing that they are similar to ourselves. Thus we are more likely to follow their behavior."

This research points to the possibility of finding other ways to persuade people to do the right thing using such subtle pressure.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université du Luxembourg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gerhard Reese, Kristina Loew, Georges Steffgen. A Towel Less: Social Norms Enhance Pro-Environmental Behavior in Hotels. The Journal of Social Psychology, 2014; 154 (2): 97 DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2013.855623

Cite This Page:

Université du Luxembourg. "A towel less: How psychologists harness sociability to cut waste." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140324104426.htm>.
Université du Luxembourg. (2014, March 24). A towel less: How psychologists harness sociability to cut waste. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140324104426.htm
Université du Luxembourg. "A towel less: How psychologists harness sociability to cut waste." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140324104426.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
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