The recycled self: How our identity relates to whether we recycle a product or not #27

[iframe style="border:none" src="//" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]

If you drink coffee and buy that in a shop, the barista might call out your name - which may be written on your disposable cup - when it's ready. Does the fact that your name is written on the cup have an influence on whether you choose to recycle it or not? Even if they spelled your name wrong?

Everyday, we make decisions about whether to keep or dispose of objects that we have purchased or obtained. Often, the decision can boil down to whether we recycle or trash the object in question. In this show I speak with Associate Professor Remi Trudel from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University in the USA to find out more about how our identity links to the products we might be, but also how this may influence of decision about how we dispose of that item.

Here is the link to the paper we talk about in this week's show:

Here is the abstract for some context:

It has been known for some time that consumers' identities influence purchasing decisions and people form strong identity connections, or "links," with products and brands. However, research has yet to determine whether identity-linked products are differentially treated at disposal in comparison to products that are not identity linked. Across seven studies, the current research shows that when an everyday product (e.g., paper, cups, aluminum cans) is linked to a consumer's identity, it is less likely to be trashed and more likely to be recycled. Further, the tendency to recycle an identity-linked product increases with the strength and positivity of the connection between the consumer and product (or brand). Finally, the disposal behavior can be explained by consumers' motivation to avoid trashing a product that is linked to the self because it is viewed as an identity threat. In sum, consumers will be more likely to recycle (rather than trash) a product if the product is linked to a consumer's identity. This occurs because placing an identity-linked product in the trash is symbolically similar to trashing a part of the self, a situation consumers are motivated to avoid.

I hope you enjoyed this fortnight's show. We will remain on a fortnightly schedule until at least October 2017, but I still hope you'll enjoy the interviews we will regularly be publishing here

If you do enjoy this episode, and would like to support the show, you can do that in a few ways:

You can leave a review and rating on iTunes - that really helps others to find the show.

You can follow the show on Twitter @wcwtp or me @sarb, and find the website at

You can also email the show at

Please feel free to share the link to the show with your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe here or via this iTunes link:

Or on Stitcher or other podcast apps:

Lastly, find us on too

Thanks for listening. Tell your friends!


Check out this episode!