Carton Council of North America study confirms strong consumer belief in the value of recycling
90 percent of respondents believe recycling is important and people should do what they can to try and recycle
Good news! Americans still believe recycling is important and positively impacts the environment. These were the findings of a national survey that included nearly 2,500 U.S. adults, conducted for the Carton Council of North America. It showed that 90 percent of respondents believe recycling is important and people should do what they can to try and recycle.
To break it down further, more than 6 in 10 (61 percent) believe people should make recycling a priority. Twenty-nine percent believe people should do what they can to try to recycle.
“The survey results reiterate what we in the industry have known all along, that recycling is important and remains a vital part of ensuring our planet is in the best shape for future generations,” said Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America and vice president, environment, Tetra Pak Americas. “Despite some media coverage last year that questioned the importance of recycling, American consumers care about recycling and the environment. It’s within our power as an industry to unite for the common goal of ensuring every American has access to recycling and is recycling all that they can.”
Further reinforcing the widespread support for recycling, the survey also found that 95 percent of consumers believe that if more people recycled their household containers, it would help the environment. Additionally, the survey revealed that recycling is very much a cultural norm in the U.S. Eighty-two percent of respondents said that all or some of the houses in their neighborhood set out recycling on collection day.
“With the price of oil so low, there has been a lot of discussion about the short-term economic feasibility of recycling,” said Pelz. “However, recycling is important not just for the economic benefits but also because it tackles the issue of resource scarcity that will eventually impact us all. Additionally, in some communities, recycling addresses concerns over the lack of landfill space. Recycling is not going away in this country.”
Results from the survey also reinforced that recycling is seen as a local issue and using a variety of local communications is most effective. When asked where they turn for information about their community, respondents said they would first turn to local media for information (43 percent), followed closely by friends and family at 36 percent, bill stuffers and newsletters at 29 percent, social media at 21 percent, and events at 20 percent.
“Recycling is about creating good solutions for long-term economic and environmental health. Knowledge is power, and this research reinforces that there is demand for recycling,” said Keefe Harrison, executive director of The Recycling Partnership. “We share a joint mission with the Carton Council in working to create solutions that engage members all along the recycling supply chain to increase recycling nationwide. We also recognize that our job isn’t done, but together with the Carton Council and our many other partners, we are taking action to deliver bold results.”
The Carton Council is a sponsor and member of The Recycling Partnership board of directors, a national recycling nonprofit focused on improving recycling in the U.S. The Carton Council was formed with the goal to increase carton recycling in the U.S. In 2009, just 18 percent of U.S. households could recycle the cartons they consumed through their local recycling programs. Since then, efforts have focused on building the infrastructure for aseptic and gable-top carton recycling, and now 58 percent of U.S. households have access to carton recycling, a 222 percent increase.
About the survey
Findings from the research are based on a survey of 2,495 adults conducted by Research+Data Insights. The survey included a nationally representative sample of Americans who reported having access to curbside recycling programs in their communities, and the results were weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. Responses were collected online between Dec. 2 and Dec. 13, 2015.
For more information on the research findings, visit CartonOpportunities.org/survey.