Sustainable Disposal Drives Overconsumption for Green Consumers

Eunjoo Han, Pennsylvania State University-Erie
Sommer Kapitan, Auckland University of Technology
Saerom Lee, University of Guelph

Award Amount: $2,000


How do disposal options to donate, recycle, or trash used goods affect consumers’ subsequent new purchase decisions? This research aims to propose and demonstrate that consumers who value making environmentally sustainable consumption decisions are, counterintuitively, more willing to purchase new goods following sustainable disposal of their used possessions. More specifically, we argue that consumers with stronger (vs. weaker) green values are more likely to purchase new goods following sustainable disposal (e.g., selling or donating used goods for reuse or recycle vs. trashing). Further, we suggest that this effect will be driven by (1) consumers’ self-concept consistency and (2) justification for new purchases. When consumers with strong green values are engaged in a sustainable disposal activity, they will feel that they have made good contributions to society and environment, believing that they have acted in accordance with their self-concept as a green person. This perception of self-concept consistency will facilitate justification for making new purchases in subsequent acquisition opportunities.



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