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From trash to treasure: The impact of consumer perception of bio-waste products in closed-loop supply chains

Russo, Ivan, Confente, Ilenia, Scarpi, Daniele, Hazen, Benjamin T.
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.218 pp. 966-974
biobased products, biodegradability, bioplastics, closed loop systems, consumer attitudes, demographic statistics, food waste, marketing, multivariate analysis, polyhydroxyalkanoates, raw materials, supply chain, United Kingdom
Increasing efforts are made to convert waste into new materials for replacing “traditional” ones. In particular urban bio-waste represents a primary source of concern for both government and society. A new type of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) have been very recently developed to convert food waste into a biodegradable multifunctional raw material to help solving the plastic waste problem. However, little is known about consumers' reactions to products made from PHA. Hence this study aims at understanding consumers' intentions to purchase, pay for, and switch to those bio-based products. Both multivariate analyses of variance and mediation analyses are run, addressing product involvement, consumer values, expertise and demographics within an experimental study based on a representative sample of UK respondents. Findings reveal no effects for product involvement and gender on the dependent variables, but for green self-identity, attitude towards bio-based product, age and past purchase experience of eco-friendly products. Results can help the adoption of PHA-based bioplastics to solve the pressing problem of the disposal of bio-waste. In particular, understanding the drivers of consumers acceptance of bio-based products poses opportunities to build new closed loop system and for successfully marketing the reuse of urban food-waste. Theoretical and managerial implications are addressed.