Ever wonder why deposit-refund programs get two to three times the recovery rates of other recovery systems? The answer is in a new report by SC Johnson & Son, Inc. The report, The Environment: Public Attitudes and Individual Behavior — A Twenty-Year Evolution, is a follow-up to a report published in 1990, which they claim was the “first large-scale survey to measure both green attitudes and behavior” in the U.S.
SC Johnson’s research confirms what Coca-Cola discovered 100 years ago when they wanted consumers to bring back glass bottles for refilling: financial incentives work better than cajoling, appeals to altruism, or even advertising.
Concludes SC Johnson: “Interestingly, Americans say financial incentives and disincentives have a greater influence on their green behavior than pressure from family, friends and government. … For the population as a whole, Americans say that both financial incentives (49% say this is a major influence) and penalties (49%) have a greater influence on their green behavior than pressure from family, friends and government – with celebrities having the least reported impact on green behavior” (page 14).
Now … how to apply this finding to SC Johnson’s own packaging waste? Like Windex bottles, Pledge and Raid cans and Ziploc bags!