A Gentle Nudge To Change Behaviour

In ITP, Persuasion Design

For my nudge experiment, I decided to focus on paper towel consumption. It’s so easy to grab a paper towels when you’re cleaning or washing your hands. I had a moment of concern when I saw my trash filled mainly with paper towels while I was cleaning this weekend. The worst part is that you can’t recycle them.



I went through an entire roll of paper towels when cleaning this past Saturday. That seems a little wasteful and I can’t imagine what families with children consume.



I simply put I sign up on Sunday that read “13 billion”. That figure represents how many pounds of waste we produce each year with paper towels alone. That is a startling number and I thought it would make me and my girlfriend think twice before liberally grabbing paper towels. Instead of going through an entire roll in roughly a day, we extended the roll to last from Sunday to now (Wednesday night) and there is still a good amount left. In that time frame, we cleaned as well so that the experiment would compare more fairly with the control case. The thing that helped us the most was using a rag whenever we were just drying our hands or wiping off water.


Sunday Morning Roll




Wednesday Afternoon Roll




Our Helpful Rag



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