Recycling Gone Bad: When the Option to Recycle Increases Resource Consumption
Jesse R Catlin
Washington State University - Tri-Cities
Tsinghua University - Department of Industrial Engineering
May 10, 2012
Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2012, doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2012.04.001
In this study, we propose that the ability to recycle may lead to increased resource usage compared to when a recycling option is not available. Supporting this hypothesis, our first experiment shows that consumers used more paper while evaluating a pair of scissors when the option to recycle was provided (vs. not provided). In a follow-up field experiment, we find that the per person restroom paper hand towel usage increased after the introduction of a recycling bin compared to when a recycling option was not available. We conclude by discussing implications for research and policy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: sustainability, recycling, consumption, field experiment
Date posted: May 15, 2012 ; Last revised: September 17, 2012
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