A Way to Increase the Number of Plastic Bags?

In “Why charging for plastic bags doesn’t work” Guardian reporter, Ally Fogg, likens the plastic bag surcharge to daycare late pick up penalty fees.

At a daycare center in Haifa, Israel, two behavior psychologists found that when penalty fees were introduced for parents picking up their children late from the daycare the number of late pickups actually doubled (A Fine is a Price).  

One reason for this could be that by introducing the fees it then became seen as an available service and it distanced the parents from the consequences of their actions; that is “We have paid, so the responsibility is no longer ours”.

A similar thinking could be aligned to the plastic bag surcharge; that is “We have paid our dues, so the responsibility is no longer ours”.

So it seems it cannot be taken as a given that a plastic bag surcharge in Norway will act as a deterrent and reduce the number of bags purchased here.  It might have the opposite effect as in that daycare where an increase number of children are standing around, tapping their feet, waiting for their parents.

Why charging for plastic bags doesn’t work

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/17/charging-for-plastic-bags-doesnt-work accessed August 20, 2014

A Fine is a Price

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=180117 accessed August 20, 2014

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