Recycling gone bad: When the option to recycle increases resource consumption

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2013, 23 (1), pp. 122 - 127
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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. © 2012 Society for Consumer Psychology.
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