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Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Feeling guilty about the things you should’ve ­recycled? You’re not alone.

You buy a new gadget, but in prying and hacking it loose, rip the plastic packaging to shreds. With your new toy in hand, you flip the eviscerated container into the trash.

You could’ve—should’ve—recycled it.

According to Assistant Professor of Marketing Remi Trudel, your failure to be green isn’t unusual. In recent field and lab tests, says the consumer judgment expert, products twisted out of shape during regular use were less likely to be recycled than those that maintained their original forms and functions.

The findings were presented at an SMG-hosted marketing research camp aimed at highlighting the latest advances in understanding sustainable behavior. Speakers from institutions such as Yale and Carnegie Mellon joined SMG experts to discuss everything from how consumers willfully forget a product’s ethical history (but not its price) to why private companies follow the government’s lead in adopting green construction standards.

Watch Trudel talk about his research on consumer behavior.