America Recycles Day Survey Says: Americans Feel They’re Not Doing Enough for the Environment

A new national survey released on America Recycles Day finds most Americans feeling less than confident that they’re doing enough to help the environment—and many say they don’t really know how.

Only 37 percent of Americans in the survey say they’re “doing enough for the environment,” and less than half (46 percent) say they are “knowledgeable about what it takes to be eco-friendly in my daily life.” Two thirds of Americans say they would like to learn some simple steps that help the planet.

Plastics Make it Possible®, which commissioned the survey by Kelton Research for America Recycles Day, offers one simple approach: buy recycled. Today there are lots of opportunities to close the recycling loop by purchasing products made with recycled materials, such as plastics.

Almost all Americans now have access to recycling—and more than 90 percent say they recycle in their daily lives, according to the survey. And it’s never been easier to recycle, especially the plastic bottles, caps, and containers that Americans use every day.

However, the next part of the recycling loop—looking for products made with recycled materials—is not as widespread. With the holiday retail season upon us, only 28 percent of Americans say they will look for gifts made with recycled materials this year, according to the survey.

While recycling keeps valuable materials out of the landfill so they can become new products, the next step is just as important: seeking out everyday products and holiday gifts made with recycled materials, which closes the recycling loop and creates demand for even more recycling.

Recycled plastics, for example, are used to make a wide range of consumer goods, such as clothing, kitchenware, and garden tools, that can make great eco-friendly gifts. In 2012 the company REPREVE® turned nearly one billion plastic bottles into yarn and fabrics to make products for companies such as Patagonia, LK Life Khaki, and Ford. The number and kinds of products made with recycled plastics are growing dramatically as plastic recycling expands.

While the survey finds that many Americans may not know how to be eco-friendly, most are doing at least something to find out—more than three quarters (78 percent) say they have taken some action to learn more about which products are collected for recycling in their community.

For a chance to win a Patagonia jacket made with REPREVE® recycled-plastic yarn, visit the Plastics Make it Possible® Facebook page.

Click here for the America Recycles Day Giveaway official rules.

For more information about plastics recycling, click here.