EIA Survey Shows Americans Want to Recycle But Need More Options

A new survey commissioned by the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) shows that Americans are motivated to recycle but sometimes struggle with the means of how to do so.

The online survey conducted by Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive Inc. reports that 82 percent of Americans feel a sense of pride when they recycle, and 62 percent feel a sense of guilt when they throw a recyclable item in the trash. According to the survey 74 percent of Americans will make an extra effort to recycle outside their homes, and 58 percent said they often have success recycling at work.

But if a recycling bin is not nearby, 54 percent said they will throw a recyclable item in the trash. Still, the majority (58 percent) said they will keep the item until they can recycle the material, according to a news release by the Washington-based EIA.

But only 22 percent say they are successful in recycling on vacation, out shopping or walking city streets, and only 16 percent are when dining out.

The survey was conducted at the end of October among 2,022 adults ages 18 and older.

“Recycling participation rates have increased dramatically during the last few decades in the U.S., and that is an achievement that all Americans should celebrate,” said Sharon Kneiss, EIA president and CEO. “There is positive, pent-up desire to recycle even more in America. But we need more recycling options on our main streets and in our shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, airports, gas stations and other public spaces.”

Anne Germain, EIA’s waste and recycling technology director, added, “Wherever there is a public trash can, there also should be a recycling bin within sight. People think about recycling and inherently want to, but they need readily available recycling options for the habit to be a no-brainer.”

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