Many Want Better Information about What to Recycle, Particularly for Plastics

Washington, D.C. (November 14, 2014)—A new national survey conducted in advance of America Recycles Day (November 15) finds that half of Americans say they recycle 75 percent or more of their recyclable items. Eight percent say they recycle all recyclables. The survey, conducted by global insights firm Kelton Global, finds that nearly two thirds of Americans say they recycle on a “regular basis.”

While these figures sound like good news for the environment, they contrast with the national recycling rate of 34.5 percent in 2012, as measured by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the survey results, many Americans say they would recycle more if they had better information about what to recycle, particularly for plastics. Forty-six percent say they are more likely to recycle when they know that an item is recyclable, as opposed to when they are unsure. Among those who say they don’t recycle all the time, 28 percent say it’s because they don’t know which plastic items are recyclable.

“While nearly all Americans have access to recycling today, this survey shows that better communication and easier access to relevant information should help improve participation rates,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, which sponsors the Plastics Make it Possible® initiative and this survey. “That’s why programs such as America Recycles Day and efforts to streamline collection of plastics are essential to increasing recycling.”

America Recycles Day is sponsored by the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful and is the nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle. Keep America Beautiful also is running the national “I Want to Be Recycled” campaign to encourage greater awareness of the importance of recycling. In addition, supporters of plastics recycling recently developed new guidelines to help communities nationwide communicate about plastics recycling.

Kelton Global surveyed 1,006 adults (18 and over) from September 19 to 26, 2014, to gauge perceptions and sentiments on recycling in the United States.

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About Plastics Make it Possible®

Plastics Make it Possible® highlights the many ways plastics inspire innovations that improve our lives, solve big problems, and help us design a safer, more promising future. This initiative is sponsored by America’s Plastics MakersTM of the American Chemistry Council. For more information, visit, check out our Facebook page and follow us @plasticpossible on Twitter

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The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $812 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is one of the nation’s largest exporters, accounting for twelve percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.