Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Charging more for coffee would reduce waste

Many coffee shops such as Costa and Starbucks offer 25p discounts if you use a re-usable cup.

And that’s a great advance in reducing the number sent to landfill sites.

However researchers at Cardiff University have found that offering this discount had no effect.

But charging an additional 25p per cup increased the usage of re-useable cups by 3.4%

And if you displayed environmentally friendly messages and provided some free re-useable cups the use of such cups increased by 12%.

This is a good demonstration of behavioural economics. People are more sensitive to losses than gains when making decisions. Charging 25p more is seen as a loss and people are more sensitive to that than saving the same amount.

If we really want to change a customer’s behaviour then a charge on a disposable cup is more likely to be effective” said the author of the research report.

Many people might find it difficult to remember to take a re-useable cup with them. I have one in my car but hardly ever use even when visiting Costa at my local Tesco (partly because I don’t think Cappuccino travels well).

Last year Starbucks temporarily doubled the discount to 50p but it only increased the use of re-useable cups by 0.2% up to 1.2%.

After the success of charging people for plastic bags in shops it’s worth considering a similar move with coffee cups.

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1 Comment

Copenhagen Airport, expensive or what?

I hadn’t enough Danish currency and they won”t take foreign coins, only notes , then give you Danish currency in return. So I thought £20 might cover 2 small beers and 2 coffees. The change you can see on the counter wouldn’t even buy a coffee at that bar!

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

My colleague and I have just returned from Vilnius in Lithuania where we have been doing some work at Vilnius University. Our route home was via Copenhagen airport with a five and a half hour stop over for our connection to Manchester.

So, as one normally does with such a long wait we decided to find a bar and have a beer to while away the time. My friend ordered a glass of Kronenburg and I asked for Tuborg and we were quickly presented with two glasses.

Are these the two most expensive beers in Europe? Are these the two most expensive beers in Europe?

My friend offered to pay and the young lady serving us rang the amount into the till machine and up popped the amount of £15.00………..our jaws dropped as we looked at each other and said “well we knew that is was expensive in Copenhagen but we didn’t realise we were personally subsidising the Danish…

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