Trashy

Unconscious bias apparently affects even our decision about what to recycle.

This story on NPR explains that we are more likely to recycle full sheets of paper than paper that has been cut into strips.  We also are less likely to recycle cans if they have been crushed.

The theory is that if we see something that has been "damaged" we think of it as junk.  If the item is still intact, we are more likely to envision how it can be reused, and we are therefore more likely to recycle it.

One of the study's authors suggests that businesses put a small "frowny face" on garbage cans, to nudge people into making a more conscious, thoughtful decision about what they throw away and what they recycle.