Don’t throw away the “incomplete” product

We’ve all done it, something of ours breaks and we throw it away.  The laptop we’re using no longer works unless it’s plugged in, the jacket you love has a broken zipper, or the dresser that you own has a broken drawer.  Instead of fixing the problem or donating the product to someone else you decide to discard it.  It’s easier to discard than it is to fix the problem, or you may be too embarrassed to donate a product that you wouldn’t use yourself to someone else.  However, by discarding the product you contribute to the over 200 million tonnes of garbage that Americans discard each year.  Many products (including the broken glasses on the left) are still useful:  The key to preventing this waste is to think of products as a collection of independent parts rather than a whole that is reliant on all of the parts.  Dr. Dave Kolar and I recently presented a study at the Marketing and Public Policy Conference in D.C which found that consumers are more likely to donate based on the level of product completeness.  The more we view a product as complete the less likely we are to discard it.  To see a summary of our study please click on the link: MPPC Poster – June 5 2017.


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