Americans Agree on Recycling
Americans don’t just think recycling should be a priority, they are acting on it. According to a recent survey conducted by the Carton Council of North America, 94% of consumers are supportive of recycling. Nearly three-fourths (74%) believe recycling is important and should be made a priority, and an additional 20% think it is somewhat important and people should do what they can to try to recycle.
The survey asked respondents about their recycling behavior for common recyclables, and the results showed an overall increase in respondents reporting that they always recycle these items. Food and beverage cartons, such as those for milk, juice, broth, and soy, are a newer recyclable material in the U.S. recycling stream, yet also showed a significant increase, with 61 percent of respondents saying they always recycle their food and beverage cartons, up from 50 percent when the survey was last conducted.
Environmental benefits and social responsibility drive recycling now more than ever. Ninety-four percent of respondents cited environmental or altruistic reasons for recycling, up from 73 percent in 2016.
Additionally, consumers have high expectations for the brands they purchase. Fifty-six percent said their loyalty to a food or beverage brand is impacted by the brand’s engagement with environmental causes. The survey also found that consumers overwhelmingly expect food and beverage brands to be committed to recycling. More than nine out of 10 (92 percent) said brands should take an active role in helping to increase the recycling of packages, up slightly from 2016.
The survey also reported recycling behaviors broken down by state in two categories:
- States that reported recycling of food and beverage cartons most often:
1. Rhode Island
2. New Hampshire
- States that have the most supportive outlook of recycling:
1. Rhode Island
2. New Jersey
4. New Hampshire
“Rhode Island was one of the first states to promote universal recycling access back in 1986 and we’re still leading the way,” said Jared Rhodes, Director of Policy and Programs at Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation. “We’re pleased our commitment to recycling education has resulted in positive outlooks and actions. We hope Rhode Islanders continue to recycle their cartons in high numbers, as well as the full suite of recyclables accepted in our mixed recycling program.”