A new study reveals that consumers may consume more resources when there is an option to recycle than they do when there is no option to recycle.
This study has major implications for consumers, policy makers, and “green” marketers. Recycling may not be as harmless of an environmentally-friendly endeavor as we may think. Because we subconsciously justify using more materials when recycling options are available, we end up demanding more energy usage in the production of those additional resources. The additional production of materials we feel justified in using indiscreetly takes a toll on the environment as well.
“Green” marketers, it would seem, have the upper hand on this one. As long as consumers use recycling as a justification to use more resources, producers of “recyclable” products are likely to sell more of those products.
As consumers, if we truly want to have a positive impact on the environment, we need to recognize that recycling should not be used as a license for greater and more careless consumption. If we want to save the planet, we will pay just as much attention to how much materials we are using in total as we do to the amount that we are recycling.