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Waste Management: People Recycle More If They Know What Recyclable Waste Becomes, Says Study

The research team conducted six studies, published in Journal of Marketing, in which they observed that the participants who saw waste being transformed, recycled more than the participants who saw a generic recycling, not involving product transformation

Washington D.C.: In order to increase plastic recycling rates, we need to change the conversation from ‘where does plastic go’ to ‘what does plastic create’, as a new study has observed that consumers recycle more when they think about what such plastic waste can be transformed into. According to the study published in the Journal of Marketing, sustainability programs around the world are fast becoming a staple of the private sector. However, consumers’ recycling habits have not kept pace. In fact, only 25.8 per cent of waste was recycled in the United States and only 13 per cent of municipal solid waste was recycled globally in 2015.

The research team conducted six studies in which participants were asked to dispose of some scratch paper. Participants who saw paper being transformed into the same product or a different product recycled more than participants who saw a generic recycling message not involving product transformation.

Also Read: Waste Management Gets A New Dimension As Gurgaon Segregates Waste Into Wet, Dry And Hazardous

The second study showed that participants who viewed advertisements for products made from identified recycled plastic items were more likely to recycle than those who viewed advertisements for products that only mention the company engages in recycling practices.

The third study compared three messages to confirm that transformation salience increased recycling even when no specific product output is identified from the transformation. The research team found that transformation messaging increased recycling by inspiring people to recycle. In other words, getting people to think about the possibilities of transformation is the key to increased recycling rates.

Also Read: World’s First Zero-Waste Flight Takes Off, To Cut 100 Million Single-Use Plastics In A Year

Karen Page Winterich, the author of the study, concluded,

This research has important implications for companies and organisations seeking to increase recycling rates. These studies provide compelling evidence that when consumers consider that recyclables are transformed into something new, they recycle more. Increasing transformation salience among consumers should be a priority for any organisation seeking to increase collection rates. Increased recycling offers not only societal and environmental benefits but also provides the source materials companies need for sustainable production of goods in a circular economy.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollutionclean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.

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