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Improve Behavior Change Research to Reduce Ocean Plastics

Posted by Jane Patton | California, United States

A lot of work is currently being done across the planet to raise global and local awareness about plastic pollution with the goal of changing behavior. But what research base are we pulling from to inform strategies around changing individual and corporate behavior, or around implementing progressive government policies, to ensure our success in these much-needed endeavors? There is currently a huge disconnect between scientifically-proven methods and the actual means we use in our efforts to get producers to stop making single-use plastic and to get consumers to stop using it. So much useless single-use plastic is being thrown away through habit (like from plastic straws), and we need proven strategies to reach people’s emotional drivers to compel them to change, as individuals and as corporations or communities.

Part of the breakdown is from a lack of sophisticated randomized control trials into what actually drives behavior change long term, especially with regard to environmental and/or ocean concerns. We ask the BOI to invest in these necessary experiments with the intention of providing a robust body of research to significantly improve the impact of the work done by ocean and climate change activists. We need to be able to have real information about what works to reduce the flow of plastic pollution into the world’s oceans.

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