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THE TRIGGER TO REDUCE PLASTIC WASTE ACCORDING TO BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS


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Completely going plastic-free is a daunting thought to many. Convincing others to start reducing plastic waste may be even more difficult. Behavioral economists who study consumer behavior suggest using the EAST framework to trigger behavior change. This acronym means Easy, Attractive, Timely, Social. So whatever the action required to make that first steps to reducing plastic waste, these solutions should be:

1. Easy to use with little to no extra effort
Many plastic-free habits can be intimidating to do at the beginning and sometimes put people off from starting. An example would be bringing your own take-out containers when buying food or bringing your own reusable coffee cup. Some easy first steps are those that happen when most of the work happens in the purchasing phase (purchases generally make people happy). After purchasing, people need to create the habit to use them. These are the easiest when plastic-free alternatives are swapped with daily necessities that are easy to use like Bamboo toothbrushes and shampoo bars. Plastic toothbrushes and shampoo bottles are two of the bigger culprits of household plastic waste. These are easy replacements that don't need much of a behavior change.

  1. Beautifully designed and attractive
    To get people to make the switch, having a better, more beautiful designed plastic-free alternatives will encourage people to buy differently.

  2. Feel that it is the right time to switch
    Seeing all the destruction of plastic pollution in social media and our surroundings are triggers to make a change.

  3. Knowing that friends and family are doing the same
    Joining a community of people and having friends and family around you who are supportive, if not joining you in your journey, is a great way to keep on going.

It also helps when we are accepting and non-judgmental of those who are just starting their journey to reducing plastic waste. It isn't realistic for the majority (or everyone) to be completely plastic-free. Necessary plastic exists in healthcare and life-saving devices. Plastic exists in our home appliances and creature comforts. A big part of our modern world is made of plastic but we can make the conscious choice to use plastic when necessary and avoid plastic when possible. Any manner of avoiding plastic matters and is definitely appreciated.


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