Environmental Sustainability Through Recycling

Listen here, or download the 15 MB mp3 file.

Most observers agree that human consumption is on a crash course with the environment. Although recycling programs have been implemented in many cities around the world, people do not participate as often as they could. In this university podcast, Canadian scholar Kate White shares research examining the effectiveness of messages that highlight the negative consequences of not recycling (loss frames) versus those that emphasize the positive consequences of recycling (gain frames) in influencing people’s behavior. The report finds that the effectiveness of one type of messaging over another depends on whether interventions activate concrete thinking, which focuses on behaviors (such as how one might go about recycling), or abstract thinking (such as why one might go about recycling). White spoke at The Science of Getting People to Do Good briefing held at Stanford University.

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  • One of the key points that should be made is to not necessarily frame it from a loss vs gain frameset - but rather from a benefit standpoint.

    We run a campaign to stop producing the yellow pages books - educating our younger populations will go a long way to helping them understand the waste that goes into production of these and other high density/low use catalogs. But, for older populations figuring a way to get them to see the benefit of not having to search through bulky books and out of date information is the tough sell.

    If we can sell traditionalists on the benefit of an online directory or otherwise digital version of catalogs we can do a lot to curb this wasteful production.

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