Survey Reveals Most Americans are Many Shades of Earth-Friendly “Green”
Just in time for Earth Day, a survey to pinpoint the recycling views and practices of Americans was conducted by GFK Custom Research, on behalf of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). Findings revealed Americans’ “green” attitudes and habits, while showing that most consumers could stand to go a shade or two “greener.”
The survey indicated that 20 percent of Americans suffer from “green guilt,” and many more admit to less-than-perfect recycling habits. In fact, only about 52 percent of respondents recycle their glass and cardboard, while roughly 60 percent recycle their newspapers. In addition, approximately one-third of those surveyed recycle their used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, while 14 percent of Americans admitted to not recycling anything at all.
Those who identified themselves as “recyclers” say that the main reason they recycle is to help preserve the environment. Many (43 percent) who do not recycle all recyclable items are unclear about their local recycling laws and recycling locations, while 34 percent of Americans feel that it takes too much effort to separate their trash. A large group (43 percent) doubts that their individual actions will have any impact on the future of the environment.
However, individual actions can indeed make a difference. For instance, if all morning newspapers read in this country were recycled, 41,000 trees would be saved daily, and 6 million tons of waste would never end up in landfills. Even more alarming, U.S. consumers discard enough glass to fill two 1,300-ft. skyscrapers every two weeks.
“We actually found the results of the survey encouraging since most Americans are at least recycling something and just need the proper resources and guidance to help them do more for the environment,” said Ralph Millard, Executive Vice President, RBRC.
In addition to recycling habits, the survey pinpointed other common “green” habits and attitudes, aiming to identify the one practice that could most easily be incorporated into consumers’ lifestyles in order to protect the environment. Approximately one-quarter of respondents felt that they could easily turn off their air conditioning or heat when not at home, while 19 percent said that they could unplug appliances that are not in use.
In addition, nearly 15 percent felt that the easiest habit to adopt would be recycling their used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, whereas roughly 12 percent would rather bring a coffee mug to their local coffee shop, instead of using paper or Styrofoam cups. Respondents also indicated a willingness to take fewer napkins at fast food restaurants and delis (10 percent), or opt for online bill statements (8 percent).
To make others “green” with envy, try these other environmentally tips:
* Conserve energy by swithching your regular incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). These light bulbs typically last four times longer than incandescent bulbs and use a quarter of the wattage of other bulbs.
* Adjust your thermostat. Turning it down just two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer can save a significant amount of energy.
* Bring your own re-usable shopping bags to the supermarket as an alternative to plastic and paper bags. This not only protects the environment but prevents your bags from breaking on the trip home from the market.
Just as many habits are easy to adopt, there are clearly others that are hard to break. Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed admitted that they could never switch to cloth diapers from disposables, nor would they ever buy a hybrid car.
Whether it is recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones, using green cleaning products or simply unplugging appliances, there are hundreds of ways for Americans to “go green” this Earth Day–thereby truly ridding themselves of “green guilt.” RBRC encourages all Americans to pitch in and find “just one thing” they can do to help preserve the environment today and every day after.
The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) is a nonprofit, public-service organization dedicated to the recycling of rechargeable batteries and cell phones. Currently, over 50,000 retail, business, and community collection locations participate in RBRC’s rechargeable battery recycling program. RBRC is funded by more than 300 manufacturers and marketers of portable rechargeable batteries and products.
To find local retailers and community centers that collect used rechargeable batteries and cell phones for recycling, call toll free: 877-2-RECYCLE or visit www.call2recycle.org.