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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

The effect of Product Aesthetics on Consumers’ Recycling Behavior

Published: May 25, 2021


Ada Maria Barone, Aarhus University; Matteo De Angelis, Luiss University; Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, Aarhus University


This research investigates how product aesthetics (high vs. low) affects consumers’ likelihood of recycling a product. Specifically, we hypothesize that consumers are more likely to recycle products that are more visually appealing than products that are less visually appealing, because of higher perceptions of product quality associated with highly aesthetic products. Results of two studies support our conceptualization, providing evidence that consumers perceive visually appealing products as having higher quality, which in turn drives likelihood of recycling them. This work contributes to recent research exploring how product characteristics affect consumers’ disposal and recycling decisions (e.g., Trudel and Argo, 2013). Furthermore, it expands prior literature about the beneficial effects of products aesthetics (e.g., Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008). Finally, it provides useful insights for the development of successful recycling initiatives.


This research was supported by the Interacting Minds Centre (IMC) at Aarhus University