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Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1829-1844; doi:10.3390/su5051829
Article

Persuasive Normative Messages: The Influence of Injunctive and Personal Norms on Using Free Plastic Bags

1,* , 2
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1
Received: 17 January 2013 / Revised: 11 April 2013 / Accepted: 16 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

In this exploratory field-study, we examined how normative messages (i.e., activating an injunctive norm, personal norm, or both) could encourage shoppers to use fewer free plastic bags for their shopping in addition to the supermarket’s standard environmental message aimed at reducing plastic bags. In a one-way subjects-design (N = 200) at a local supermarket, we showed that shoppers used significantly fewer free plastic bags in the injunctive, personal and combined normative message condition than in the condition where only an environmental message was present. The combined normative message did result in the smallest uptake of free plastic bags compared to the injunctive and personal normative-only message, although these differences were not significant. Our findings imply that re-wording the supermarket’s environmental message by including normative information could be a promising way to reduce the use of free plastic bags, which will ultimately benefit the environment.
Keywords: normative influence; norms; injunctive norms; personal norms; message framing; sustainable behavior normative influence; norms; injunctive norms; personal norms; message framing; sustainable behavior
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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de Groot, J.I.; Abrahamse, W.; Jones, K. Persuasive Normative Messages: The Influence of Injunctive and Personal Norms on Using Free Plastic Bags. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1829-1844.

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