Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Choose to Reuse

The aim of our project was to reduce the waste of coffee cups on campus. Only 1/1000 takeaway coffee cups get recycled due to a difficult recycling process. With over 8,000,000 of these cups used every day in the UK alone; this has lead to an enormous amount of unnecessary waste.

To start our project, we emailed Warwick retail to see how many coffee cups are actually used on campus. They responded that 4500 cups are used each week in university run cafes.
After receiving this information we asked over 200 students in the library the following questions:

1. Is the environment important to you?
2. Are disposable coffee cups recycled? We then explained only 1/1000 coffee cups are actually recycled
3. Would you consider bringing your own travel mug if you were charged for a takeaway cup? We then informed them that in university run cafes they are in fact charged 10p for the use of a takeaway cup.

Here are the results:

After collecting this data we decided to make an Instagram account to inform people about the lack of recycling on campus and encourage them to use travel mugs.


We created and posted infographics as a visual aid to display some of the consequences of coffee cup waste. We used natural frequencies to persuade people to reduce waste and use a travel mug.
In addition, we encouraged people to post selfies with travel mugs on their personal instagram accounts and we also shared the ones we were aware of on our instagram page. Our captions either generally encouraged people to #choosetoreuse, framed the 10p price difference for using a travel mug in campus cafes as a charge or emphasised that other people were making the decision to use a travel mug (social proof).
The instagram page was shared on other social media sites and was also circulated within societies of the university to try to reach a wider audience.


We got in touch with Emily Grieve, the president of Her Campus society at Warwick. Her Campus is the #1 global community for college women, written entirely by the nation'a top college journalists from 300+ Universities around the world. We were interviewed about our project and an article was posted on the Her Campus website. Here is the link to the article:http://www.hercampus.com/school/warwick/warwick-choosing-reuse

Overall, our Instagram page gained over 300 followers and posts were seen by more than 500 people on other media sites. In addition, at least 30 students posted photos of themselves using travel mugs to their social media pages. Therefore, we believe that our message to reduce coffee cup waste on campus reached 1000 individuals. Furthermore, we have spoken to students who said they've changed their behaviour and bought a travel mug since the campaign!

Victoria Hill, Victoria Gilbert, Holly Brazier, and Peter Carr

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