Knowing What It Makes: How Product Transformation Salience Increases Recycling

Karen Page Winterich, Gergana Y. Nenkov, Gabriel E. Gonzales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Recycling campaigns abound, but do consumers think about what becomes of those recyclables? This research proposes that product transformation salience (thinking about recyclables turning into new products) increases recycling. The authors theorize that consumers are inspired by the transformation of recyclables into new products and that this inspiration motivates them to recycle. The authors demonstrate the effect of product transformation messages on recycling behavior using a recycling campaign (Study 1) and advertisements for products made from recycled plastic (Study 2). Study 3 demonstrates the mediating role of inspiration. Then, three field studies provide robust support for the transformation salience effect through click-through rates for recycling advertisements (Study 4), recycling rates during pre–football game tailgating (Study 5), and a reduction in the amount of recyclable materials incorrectly placed in the landfill bin by students in a university residence hall (Study 6). The authors discuss implications for the design of recycling campaigns and positioning of recycled products in the marketplace as well as theoretical contributions regarding the roles of transformation salience and inspiration in encouraging recycling and other sustainable behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-37
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marketing
Volume83
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Fingerprint

New products
Click-through rate
Positioning
Plastics
Field study
Landfill
Recycle

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

Cite this

Winterich, Karen Page ; Nenkov, Gergana Y. ; Gonzales, Gabriel E. / Knowing What It Makes : How Product Transformation Salience Increases Recycling. In: Journal of Marketing. 2019 ; Vol. 83, No. 4. pp. 21-37.
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Knowing What It Makes : How Product Transformation Salience Increases Recycling. / Winterich, Karen Page; Nenkov, Gergana Y.; Gonzales, Gabriel E.

In: Journal of Marketing, Vol. 83, No. 4, 01.07.2019, p. 21-37.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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