Title

Trash or Recycle: The Influence of Product Characteristics on Recycling Plastic Bottles

Poster Number

17B

Lead Author Major

Psychology

Lead Author Status

Senior

Second Author Major

Psychology

Second Author Status

Senior

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Carolynn Kohn

Faculty Mentor Email

ckohn@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Graduate Student Mentor Name

Meagan Strickland

Graduate Student Mentor Email

m_strickland@u.pacific.edu

Graduate Student Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Trudel & Argo (2013) found that more college students recycled aluminum cans that were larger in size and intact (i.e., not dented) and fewer college students recycled smaller, intact cans and larger dented cans. Their findings suggest the characteristics of an item might influence whether or not it is recycled and has important implications for increasing recycling behaviors. The current study was a replication and extension of Trudel and Argo (2013) in which regular sized plastic bottles were used. University students (N = 13) engaged in a creative writing task involving either a dented plastic bottle or a non-dented plastic bottle as a distraction from the actual purpose of the study. After the activity, participants were asked to dispose of their bottles before leaving the room. Recycling and trash cans were placed near the door for disposal purposes. Researchers recorded whether the bottle was placed in the recycling can or the trash can. Results indicated that 67% of participants assigned dented bottles recycled, 86% assigned non-dented bottles recycled, and no one in either group disposed of their bottles in the trash can. Furthermore, two participants with dented bottles and one participant with a non-dented bottle left the room without disposing of their bottles in either can, although one of the dented bottles was later found in a nearby recycling bin. These results are not consistent with those of Trudel & Argo (2013), but are consistent with other findings from our lab (e.g., Campbell, 2016), which suggest university students, at least on this campus, recycle paper and plastic regardless of condition (e.g., crumpled or dented).

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

28-4-2018 10:00 AM

End Date

28-4-2018 12:00 PM

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Apr 28th, 10:00 AM Apr 28th, 12:00 PM

Trash or Recycle: The Influence of Product Characteristics on Recycling Plastic Bottles

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Trudel & Argo (2013) found that more college students recycled aluminum cans that were larger in size and intact (i.e., not dented) and fewer college students recycled smaller, intact cans and larger dented cans. Their findings suggest the characteristics of an item might influence whether or not it is recycled and has important implications for increasing recycling behaviors. The current study was a replication and extension of Trudel and Argo (2013) in which regular sized plastic bottles were used. University students (N = 13) engaged in a creative writing task involving either a dented plastic bottle or a non-dented plastic bottle as a distraction from the actual purpose of the study. After the activity, participants were asked to dispose of their bottles before leaving the room. Recycling and trash cans were placed near the door for disposal purposes. Researchers recorded whether the bottle was placed in the recycling can or the trash can. Results indicated that 67% of participants assigned dented bottles recycled, 86% assigned non-dented bottles recycled, and no one in either group disposed of their bottles in the trash can. Furthermore, two participants with dented bottles and one participant with a non-dented bottle left the room without disposing of their bottles in either can, although one of the dented bottles was later found in a nearby recycling bin. These results are not consistent with those of Trudel & Argo (2013), but are consistent with other findings from our lab (e.g., Campbell, 2016), which suggest university students, at least on this campus, recycle paper and plastic regardless of condition (e.g., crumpled or dented).