When It Comes To Recycling, Women Talk More Trash

ARLINGTON, VA (November, 13, 2009) – November 15 is America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. The effort is working; according to a recent survey conducted by Plastics Make it PossibleSM, an initiative sponsored by the plastics industries of the American Chemistry Council, nearly 70 percent of households make an effort to recycle at home. Of those homes that make recycling a priority, more than two out of three rely on the women of the house to serve as the “recycling enforcers.” One out of four families shares the responsibility while only 10 percent put their kids in charge of recycling duty.

“It’s encouraging to see that more and more Americans are making an effort to recycle at home, but there is still a huge opportunity to educate and motivate the remaining third who don’t,” said Steve Russell, vice president, Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council. “Many plastics can be easily recycled in most communities and given a second life as carpet, clothing, furniture, backyard decks, new bottles and bags, and other products we use every day. By making it a practice to recycle, people can help make a difference on America Recycles Day and every day of the year.”

So just where do the plastic bottles you throw in the recycling bin and the plastic bags you take back to the grocery store end up? Though recycled plastics might be out-of-mind as soon as they are placed in a recycling bin, they are far from out-of-sight. Most people use “second life” plastics in their homes or cars everyday – and many of us may even be wearing them! According to the survey, eighty-two percent of Americans know that recycled plastic water bottles can be used to make a variety of items such as lumber for homes and decks, car bumpers, life jackets, sails for boats, rope and even fashionable t-shirts.

To encourage consumers to recycle more, Plastics Make it PossibleSM provides the following tips for reusing and recycling everyday plastics.

1. Find out which plastics are accepted for recycling in your community and where they can be taken. Though recycling options vary, most community curbside programs collect plastic bottles and many grocery and retail chains now offer bins to collect used plastic bags and wraps for recycling. An increasing number of communities are also collecting rigid containers like yogurt and butter tubs.

2. Know what to recycle with your bottles. A “bottle” is any container with a neck or opening that’s smaller than its base and includes milk jugs; beverage containers; bottles

from salad dressing, oil and other condiments; food jars for items like peanut butter and mayonnaise; and bottles from shampoo, toiletries, laundry detergent and household cleaners.

3. Know what to recycle with your bags at grocery stores. When you recycle your bags, include all plastic bags from grocery, retail and dry cleaning stores, plastic bags that cover newspapers, and product wraps from paper towels, napkins, bathroom tissue and diapers.

4. Clean and empty. Before tossing them in the recycle bin, make sure bottles are appropriately rinsed and that caps are removed.

5. Bring bottles back to the bin. When bottles are emptied away from home, store them in a backpack or briefcase, or simply leave them in the car until arriving home to place in a recycle bin.

6. Store bags in a bag. Storing plastic bags and wraps in a plastic bag offers neat, convenient storage. Simply knot the handles when you’re ready to drop them off at your local grocer or retailer.

7. Reuse those bags! From trash can liners to pet pick-up, plastic bags can be used dozens of ways.

8. Pitch in beyond the kitchen. While many recyclable bottles and bags come from the kitchen, don’t forget to check the bathrooms and laundry room for shampoo and detergent bottles and reuse your plastic bags as trash can liners throughout the house.

9. When in doubt, leave it out. Be careful not to contaminate your recyclables with garbage or items that aren’t recycled in your area.

10. Bridge the second generation gap. It’s important to remember that recycled plastics go on to become second generation products like carpet, fleece jackets and new bottles and bags.

The survey was conducted by Synovate in November 2009 to a nationally representative sample of 984 Americans adults aged 18+. ACC is a sponsor of America Recycles Day through Keep America Beautiful.