Psychologist from Glyndŵr to boost recycling for tech firm through novel KTP

Technology firm Brother has enlisted the help of psychologists from Glyndŵr University to encourage more of its customers to recycle print cartridges by appealing to their emotions to do something good for the environment.

Brother Industries UK (Ltd), which operates a site in Ruabon, wants customers to return more consumables directly to the company for recycling, rather than to landfill.

An 18 month campaign will see the firm change the packaging and marketing messages in its products based on consumer psychology advice from the Glyndŵr University.

Brother hopes the project will add an extra million on to the number of consumables, including printer cartridges and toners, which it recycles.

Dr Gareth J Harvey, lecturer in consumer psychology and marketing, is supervising psychology graduate Maria O’Reilly to complete the work as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

Gareth said: “We are going to be changing Brother’s marketing material based on consumer psychology techniques rather than traditional marketing.

“They already have marketing collateral but these are not converting into people sending consumables back to Brother.

“It all comes down to the role of emotions. Traditional marketing is based on the assumption that people make rational decisions but they don’t.

“The aim is to produce a new suite of marketing materials using words and images based on what we know about people’s behaviour and the way they process information. These will make the decision making process easier for consumers.

“The project will lead to the production of a range of tools, from leaflets to videos on social media such as You Tube.”

KTPs are partnerships between academic institutions and business which were set up to help businesses tap into specialist knowledge for specific projects, to help them grow, improve efficiency or increase turnover.

Phil Mack, director at Brother Industries UK (Ltd), said: “We are currently recycling 1.2 million consumables in Europe and our intention is to grow that to around 2.5 million through the KTP with Glyndŵr University.

“We employ 320 people alone through the recycling side of our business here in Ruabon and at a site in Krupina, Slovakia, so this is an area of huge importance for us.

“The project is part of our global environmental objectives. As a company we have a responsibility for sustainable production which is why we want more people to return our consumable products back to us for recycling.

“The site in Ruabon is taking responsibility for recycling within the company and we’re delighted to have Glyndŵr University, a local university, on board. They will provide us with a new set of skills in marketing and consumer psychology which we don’t currently have here.”

Maria has an undergraduate degree in psychology from the National University of Ireland and a Master’s degree in consumer psychology from Bangor University.

She will be working at the Brother centre in Ruabon for the duration of the project.

“I like the idea of being able to apply my master’s in consumer psychology to a live project directly related to the subject,” said Maria.

For more details visit the Glyndŵr website.