Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A towel less: how psychologists harness sociability to cut waste

24.03.2014

Hotel guests can be gently persuaded to reduce the number of towels they use each day, psychology researchers at the University of Luxembourg have found. With fewer towels to wash, this reduces the waste of water, energy and detergent. This is good news for the environment and it cuts costs, so enabling hotels to reduce prices.

Two hotels in Swiss and Austrian ski resorts helped with an experiment in early 2013. Three different signs were placed separately in different bathrooms, all of which gently reminded guests of the environmental impact of towel use.

However, one of the signs added that: “75% of guests in this hotel reuse their towels” with another sign talking of: “75% of guests in this room” reusing. 132 guests participated in this field experiment. Signs were in German and English, so would have been understood by guests in these Alpine resorts.

“We found that guests cut their towel use significantly when told of the behaviour of previous guests in their room,” said the lead researcher Dr Gerhard Reese.

... more about:
»Alpine »Luxembourg »Psychology »Social »pressure

In the “room” scenario, guests used, on average, one towel per person per day. This compared with 1.6 towels per person per day for those told of behaviour in the hotel as a whole. This amounted to a 40% saving in the number of towels needing to be washed. 

Subtle social pressure

These results are consistent with a handful of similar studies conducted in the USA. “Humans are social beings,” explained Dr Reese. “People want to be accepted into groups and so we act in ways that make us belong. Instinctively, we feel close to those who have used a hotel room before us, believing that they are similar to ourselves. Thus we are more likely to follow their behaviour.”

This research points to the possibility of finding other ways to persuade people to do the right thing using such subtle pressure.

Gerhard Reese , Kristina Loew & Georges Steffgen (2014) A Towel Less: Social Norms Enhance Pro-Environmental Behavior in Hotels, The Journal of Social Psychology, 154:2,97-100, DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2013.855623

Weitere Informationen:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2013.855623 - Link to the scientific article
http://www.uni.lu - Link to the University of Luxembourg homepage

Britta Schlüter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Alpine Luxembourg Psychology Social pressure

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects than previously thought
05.02.2016 | University of Southampton

nachricht Sluggish electrons caught in action
04.02.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

Im Focus: Microscopy: Nine at one blow

Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.

Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...

Im Focus: NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...

Im Focus: Sinking islands: Does the rise of sea level endanger the Takuu Atoll in the Pacific?

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...

Im Focus: Energy-saving minicomputers for the ‘Internet of Things’

The ‘Internet of Things’ is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive and send data. This requires electrical power. Transistors that are capable of switching information with a single electron use far less power than field effect transistors that are commonly used in computers. However, these innovative electronic switches do not yet work at room temperature. Scientists working on the new EU research project ‘Ions4Set’ intend to change this. The program will be launched on February 1. It is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).

“Billions of tiny computers will in future communicate with each other via the Internet or locally. Yet power consumption currently remains a great obstacle”,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

DATE 2016 Highlighting Automotive and Secure Systems

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new potential biomarker for cancer imaging

05.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

05.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Tiniest Particles Shrink Before Exploding When Hit With SLAC's X-ray Laser

05.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>