Young Americans Less Likely to Recycle

Young Americans Less Likely to Recycle

Younger Americans are less likely to recycle and be green than older age groups, according to a new survey.

American adults ages 18-34 are significantly less likely to say they always recycle than those older – 33 percent compared with 48 percent, according to an online poll conducted in November of more than 2,000 U.S. adults by Harris Poll and commissioned by the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

In addition, those 18-34 are less likely to say that recycling is the socially responsible thing to do, that it is critical to reducing energy consumption and will help reduce landfill space than Americans in older age categories.

“Over the last several decades communities have strived to make recycling easier through curbside pickup, drop off locations, convenient public cans located near trash cans, recycling drives, and more,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI, in a news release. “That is why it is so disappointing and shocking to see young people not fully understanding the value of recycling.  Clearly, more needs to be done both to encourage recycling and better comprehend why younger generations aren’t seeing the energy, environmental and economic benefits that recycling provides.”

According to the poll, 90 percent of Americans believe that recycling collection sites need to be more readily accessible to consumers. And 68 percent believe that manufacturers and/or retailers should pay for recycling programs when they are not already available to consumers, while 62 percent believe the government should pay for those recycling programs.


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