How can we Encourage Consumers to Recycle Packaging?
Anyone involved in marketing is well-aware of how product packaging, colours and imagery, price and position on the shelf can influence buyer behaviour. Subtle tweaks to a message or a change in font can be all it takes to make your product more desirable.
We’ve been considering how psychology could be applied in a similar manner to encourage more people to recycle their packaging.
According to the latest data, 84% of corrugated cardboard is collected and recycled in the UK. This makes corrugated cardboard one of the most likely packaging materials to see a new lease of life, but there is always scope for improvement. What’s more, there are plenty of other packaging materials which are not so readily recycled and we need to promote good practice across the board.
Packaging and the Environment
Greater environmental awareness has prompted more of us to consider product packaging. We want to do the right thing and this is shifting our buying habits in favour of ‘green’ options. Recycling rates are on the increase and those brands which are addressing sustainability are in favour. Having said this, our environmental impact is far from the only factor influencing our recycling habits.
Recycling; A Sign of Success
We were reading research conducted by Beyond the Box. It suggests that 25% of people surveyed believed that successful people recycled more. In a world where everyone wants it to appear that they have made a success of their lives, this could be powerful!
The research also identified that people were more likely to recycle in order to impress others; such as a boss or a girlfriend. This suggests that more public and workplace recycling facilities could encourage positive action. If this concept works and they made the right impression, then I guess the chances of success are increased!
Seeing the Potential of Recycled Packaging
In a separate recycling study carried out at Boston University, it became clear that many other factors had an impact on recycling. One significant point was that when people were made aware of what the packaging could become, the chances of them recycling increased. The research suggests that stating environmental benefits was not enough; people need to see the potential. What could this waste be turned into?
Another interesting revelation was that whole, undamaged items were recycled more. We may be advised to crush cans, plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, but in this format, they appear better suited to the regular rubbish bin. In addition, branded packaging was more likely to get recycled than its plain counterparts.
Influenced by the Action of Others
It is less of a surprise that, in experiments where those involved in the study dropped litter, the participants were more likely to follow suit. It seems that we are generally hardwired to fit in and as such, we tend to replicate the actions of others. If we live in a clean area, with good recycling facilities and regularly see others using those facilities, there is a greater chance that we will too. It means that normalising recycling is more important than telling people that they should be doing it.
A Twist in the Recycling Tale
The American research did present one issue with increasing the volume of recycling facilities. It showed that when people saw that they could recycle, they were less likely to conserve resources. This highlights the fact that, whilst encouraging recycling is great, it is preferable to reduce the volume of packaging materials and then consider options for reuse. Reduce and Reuse are ways in which we can make a greater difference.
A Helping Hand from Aylesbury Box Company
If your brand is looking for ways to reduce product packaging or switch to sustainable corrugated cardboard packaging, Aylesbury Box Company can assist. We offer cardboard engineering expertise, design and print facilities and the manufacture of small carton runs or bulk orders, all under one roof. Our focus is on providing sustainable packaging for business.
Robust cardboard packaging is sufficiently resilient to retain its shape. Add printed designs and branding, along with a clear, positive recycling message and you could be on the way to encouraging more customers to recycle. Call us on 01296 436888 for more information.