DISPOSABLE CUP VERSUS REUSABLE MUG USE BEFORE AND DURING TIM HORTONS’ ROLL UP THE RIM CONTEST
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Waste diversion is beneficial whether from an economic, social, or environmental perspective. Landfills – the final destination of much waste – are costly and pose environmental and health concerns. By targeting consumption patterns before waste is produced, this externality can be more effectively avoided. At the consumer level, waste can be reduced by promoting behaviours that avoid over-consumption of goods with associated waste. This study narrows the scope of waste diversion into a specific but very common waste item – the disposable coffee cup. At the Dalhousie University Student Union Building, the site of our study, an estimated 600 disposable cups are used daily (Cindy MacDonald, Personal Communication, April 2 2011). Reusable mugs are a favourable alternative to paper cups given their potential for repeated use. The Tim Hortons location in the Dalhousie Student Union Building was examined for both the frequency and proportion of reusable mug use, before and during Roll Up The Rim. In so doing, further insight was gained regarding consumer behaviour while addressing the influence of promotions on consumer behaviour patterns – an area that previous similar studies had failed to take into account. Thus, changes in consumer behaviour became the central goal of the study. The data collected shows that Roll Up The Rim affects consumer behaviour, and is therefore a worthwhile focus for further study. In addition to this justification, the study provides solid baseline data for future studies.