Dr. Judd Michael is a professor in the Ag & Bio-Engineering Department at Penn State. He currently leads the zero waste program at Penn State’s Athletics venues. He has funding from PepsiCo and NASCAR to improve waste management at sports venues. Judd is a regular speaker at industry meetings such as the Green Sports Alliance, Sustainable Packaging Forum, and BioCycle.
We conducted a controlled lab study to investigate how people engaged with a zero waste program. Our goal was to test for differences in actions based on whether the sponsor of the zero waste program was seen as being motivated by financial, marketing, regulatory, or environmental goals. In other words, do people dispose of their waste differently if they think the venue (e.g., sports stadium) is motivated by genuine environmental concern as opposed to marketing/PR strategies. Our findings suggest that if zero waste is pursued strictly for financial or marketing purposes then people are less likely to be engaged in the program. Our presentation will underscore the importance of communicating recycling program goals and motivations to stakeholders, particularly for zero waste programs where stakeholder behavior is of essential importance.