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On Reducing the White Trash

2019-06-10 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Essay范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文- On Reducing the White Trash,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了如何减少白色垃圾。如今,塑料袋的消耗是“白色垃圾”问题的一个重要组成部分。由于塑料袋对环境的破坏作用,许多组织和个人已经把它们看作是一种公共恶习。近年来,世界各国政府开始通过实施减少塑料袋使用的干预措施来解决“白色垃圾”问题。这些干预措施的包括要求超市和零售商对每一个一次性塑料袋收费,以及更严格地禁止向顾客提供塑料袋。

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1. Introduction to the Problem

1.1 Description of the Current State

According to Geyer et al (2017), since the invention of plastic in the 1950s, over 8 million metric tons of plastic has been manufactured. Importantly, based on Parker (2017), more than 91 percent of plastic consumption is not recycled. Further, most of the plastic waste is not biodegradable. In other words, it could stay on Earth for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This widespread existence and continuous accumulation has put a tremendous ecological strain on our planet. For example, if the “white trash” is not curbed effectively, plastic waste could permeate our oceans, surpassing marine life by weight before 2050 (World Economic Forum, 2016).

Plastic bags consumption makes up a significant portion of the “white trash” problem. Worldwide, the count of plastic bags used is one trillion per annum. Supermarkets, stores, and retailers are major distributors of single-use plastic carrier bags (Earth Policy Institute, 20114). Because of the damaging effects plastic bags inflict on the environment, many organizations and individuals have come to view them as a public vice. In recent years, governments around the world has begun tackling the “white trash” problem by implementing interventions to reduce plastic bag use. Examples of such interventions include requiring supermarkets and retailers to charge a fee for each single-use plastic bag and the more stringent approach of putting a ban on providing carrier plastic bag to customers.

1.2 Analysis Using Behavioral Economics

From the perspective of behavioral economics, the widespread and continuous use of single-use plastic bags by everyday shoppers can be understood in three concepts primarily.

Firstly, the affect heuristic signifies a mental shortcut that enables people to make quick and automatic judgements and decisions. It is rooted from a dependence on good or bad feelings that people experience in connection with a stimulus (Slovic et al, 2002). Most shoppers do not think through the decision to use single-use carrier bags at the registers. They do not have immediate bad feelings from accepting carrier plastic bags in the supermarkets. It is oftentimes a mindless and passive behavior.

In addition, the dual-self model explains the discrepancies between individuals’ long-term behaviors and their short-term behaviors. For instance, in the realm of savings behavior, according to Thaler and Shefrin (1981), individuals tend to be nearsighted doer in the short-run and farsighted planner in the long-run. In the case of “white trash” pollution, most shoppers realize that it is beneficial to curb plastic bag use in the long-haul; however, in their day-to-day activities, they become rather myopic and care more about convenience instead of the environment.

Moreover, the herding behavior is a concept that describes and explains the phenomenon where people tend to do what the others around them are doing, rather than gather information on their own, use critical thinking, and make decisions independently (Bikhchandi et al, 1992). Most hoppers rarely think critically about their consumption of single-use plastic bags; instead, when they shop at stores, they follow what everyone else is doing. This theory explains how using single-use plastic bags is normalized.

2. Introduction to the Intervention

The intervention that this report recommends focuses on encouraging consumers to participate in pro-environmental shopping behaviors on a daily basis. The interventional approach is to enforce cashiers and shop assistants at supermarkets and retailers to ask shoppers whether or not they will bring their own bags to carry their shopping.

2.1 Description of the Intervention

The objective of this intervention is to curb plastic carrier bag use by shoppers. By way of a voice prompt at the cash register, customers are asked the question of if they will bring their own bags to carry their groceries. The implementers of this intervention comprise of three levels. The highest level is the relevant government agency or industry regulator. The next level is the management of supermarkets and retailers themselves. The ground level is the cashiers and shop assistants. The target group for this intervention is shoppers in general. The process of implementation can take the step-by-step approach—it can start small in a city, or a number of cities at the same time, and promote the intervention to the state, or a few states, and eventually to nation wide. The reason why the target group is shoppers is because the majority of single-plastic bag pollution comes from various daily shopping activities.

2.2 Empirical Analysis of Similar Interventions

An analysis of similar interventions on reducing the “white trash” pollution can shed light on the implementation and evaluation of the “voice prompt” intervention this report recommends.

The first major, and most commonly-adopted, category of similar interventions is charging a single-use plastic bag monetary fee.

(Expand on this example)

When Ireland introduced a single-use bag tax in 2002, a 77 per cent increase in bin liner sales was reported, according to The Waste and Resources Action Programme WRAP report, who was looking at similar effects on a bag tax on Wales.

(Should I include this in the comparison, as banning is not considered behavioral?)

The second category is single-use plastic ban.

2.3 Analysis of the Intervention Using Behavioral Economics

(expanding on the following two concepts)

• Anchoring. It is a particular form of priming effect whereby initial exposure to a number serves as a reference point and influences subsequent judgments about value. The process usually occurs without our awareness (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974).

• Framing Effect.  Choices can be presented in a way that highlights the positive or negative aspects of the same decision, leading to changes in their relative attractiveness. As Nudge states “people tend to be somewhat mindless, passive decision makers.” If you can frame a situation the right way—by tapping into the deep human desire to avoid losses—you can make big differences (Nelson, 2018).

3. Proposed Evaluation of the Intervention

References

Chandra, G. (2018). Non-Monetary Interventions to Discourage the Use of Plastic Bags, and their Spillover Effect. London School of Economics. Accessed on: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B43IN9NBztBDTTBISjBqdC1USlE/view [September 4, 2018].

Nelson, E. (2018). The behavioral economics that explain why we need a tax on disposable coffee cups. Quartz. Accessed on: https://qz.com/1173081/the-behavioral-economics-that-explain-why-we-need-a-tax-on-disposable-coffee-cups/ [September 4, 2018].

Shoji, O. and Susumu, O. (2014). Psychological Interventional Approach for Reducing Resource Consumption: Reducing Plastic Bag Usage in Supermarkets. Hokkaido University. Accessed on: https://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/56092/3/RECYCL.pdf [September 4, 2018].

Geyer, R., Jambeck, J., and Law, K. (2017). Production, Use, and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made. Science Advances. Accessed on: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782 [September 4, 2018].

Parker, L. (2017). A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn't Recycled. National Geographic. Accessed on: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/ [September 4, 2018].

World Economic Forum. (2016). The New Plastics Economy—Rethinking the Future of Plastics. Accessed on: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf [September 4, 2018].

Earth Policy Institute. (2014). Plastic Bags Fact Sheet. Accessed on: http://www.earth-policy.org/press_room/C68/plastic_bags_fact_sheet. [September 4, 2018].

Slovic, P., Finucane, M. L., Peters, E., & MacGregor, D. G. (2002). The affect heuristic. Heuristics and biases: The psychology of intuitive judgment (pp. 397-420). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, pp. 1124-1131. Science (New Series).

Thaler, R., & Shefrin, H. (1981). An Economic Theory of Self-Control. Journal of Political Economy, 89(2), pp. 392-406.

Bikhchandi, S., Hirschleifer, D., & Welch, I. (1992). A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and Cultural Change as Informational Cascades. Journal of Political Economy.

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