Thursday, October 21, 2010

Plastic Peer Pressure

Did you know that 76.2% of the folks in Yellow Springs don’t use plastic bags for their retail purchases? Actually, I just made that up so you’d feel self-conscious about asking for plastic on your next shopping trip.

A recent article in the Wall St. Journal provided several examples, along with the results of some controlled experiments, on how to get consumers to make green decisions. Surprisingly, it wasn’t money. You’ve probably heard about communities implementing mandatory charges, usually a nickel, for using plastic bags. Well now there’s an added twist to the story.

In Washington DC (it seems like we need some good news from our capitol and this is the best I can do for now) they not only implemented the 5 cents charge on both paper and plastic bags, they also had the retail outlets stop asking the customers to choose “paper or plastic” – the customer had to initiate the request for a bag. The result, according the study, was that shoppers were reluctant to ask for bags, especially plastic, in front of their fellow customers. The report went on to say that in one 3 month period plastic bag use went from 68 million to 11 million.

Who knew that peer pressure could work for the green team? I’m going to get busy making up more statistics and see if this will fly in Yellow Springs.

A. Reader

1 comment:

A. Traveler said...

So THAT's why I'm paying for bags in Georgetown! I have 4 reusable bags but I never remember to take them. (Now, maybe if they'd give us a CREDIT for bringing our own bags....) Just kidding. I'll try to do better.