Do green products appeal to human nature or logic?
Green, green, green products everywhere! How many are truly sustainable though? How about a nature vs. logic equation? It is the beloved coffee/tea/cocoa mug. Now we all know we can save a few cents on our purchase by bringing our own mug, but how many of us actually do so?
The question here is whether this is an issue of logic or human behavior (or possibly both)?
If it is purely human nature, then the new “hot green product” on the market I am not a paper cup should have transformed boundaries and created a revolution. It looks like a coffee cup, you use it for hot beverages, and the only thing you need to do is remember to bring it! They took the idea of taking something familiar and tried to make it more sustainable. Obviously, a reusable mug is more sustainable than disposable products.
Of course, taking it one step further and making the mug out of recycled and recyclable materials may have made it a stand out product. But the idea was to appeal to human nature, and that would indicate that keeping in line with “business as usual” will allow people to make smaller changes at a time. The mug doesn’t scream innovative green product, but it does gently state that it is in fact identical to its disposable counterpart in appearance.
Yet the game of logic is quite different. Logically, any reusable mug, be it a coffee cup look a like or not, should have and equal impact because it is the same action. People still have the perceived inconvenience of bringing their own mug. So the additional step to bring their own mug would be the same whether it is a coffee cup look-a-like or an ultra green product with cradle to cradle certification. Logically, the important step is the in-store reward of a reduced price.
Yet in reality, neither of these hold the ultimate truth discovered thus far. The I am not a paper cup green product has had a solid following, yet individuals as a whole are bringing their own mugs more often than five years ago. At that time, most stores did not have a policy in place for bringing your own anything from bags to cups. So although reusable products seem to be a ‘new’ thing for the post-industrialized society, their popularity indicates a bigger trend. Small steps toward a larger goal of reduction and cost savings.
If every person brought their own mug for coffee every single work day, they would get one coffee free! This is dependent on the store’s discount and their prices. Although the savings of 12 free cups of coffee every year may not be astounding savings for your pocket book, it does have a profound impact on your ecological footprint. So much so, that companies such as Starbucks have invited their customers to compete for a monetary prize to come up with solutions to paper cup waste.
Whether logic or behavior take the lead, the end result is the same. We are taking some small steps toward larger and more important goals of reducing our ecological impact.
Photo Credit: gadgetpages