Congratulations to Myung-Soo Jo, and Emine Sarigollu, Professors in Marketing, on being awarded the 2018 McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI) New Opportunities award “From a Throwaway Society into a Sustainable Society: A Consumer Perspective”.
Throwing products away before they fail or are broken is a serious problem in urban sustainability. Products may be discarded due to ‘physical obsolescence’ because they have reached the end of their functional life, but may also be discarded due to ‘psychological obsolescence.’ Consumers have come to expect constant and frequent updating of their products. Having the latest versions of products may be associated with personal identity and feelings of success, but contribute to resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, and physical waste. Thus, extending the life of product usage can contribute to greater resource efficiency and less waste. What are the most effective ways to educate and sensitize urban consumers and change their mindset of “throwaway society” into that of “sustainable society”? This study will address this key question using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.