In advance of America Recycles Day on November 15, Republic Services (NYSE: RSG) released a survey highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a wake-up call for consumers to live a more sustainable life. Among the eye-opening results, six in ten Americans reported they are worried about the future of the environment — and the pandemic is also helping them change their eco-friendly habits.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Republic Services, the survey of 2,250 Americans — split evenly, geographically between nine major cities — revealed that 58% of respondents are reevaluating their eco-friendly habits as a result of the pandemic. About 65% said the pandemic has acted as a wake-up call for them to make sustainable choices, especially as they relate to recycling.
That said, while 75% of respondents recognized the importance of recycling, they don’t always do it. About 52% said they recycle most of the time — the biggest barrier was simply a lack of space in their home for an extra bin (30%). That was followed by a lack of understanding of what can and can’t be recycled (26%) and a belief that their recycling isn’t actually recycled (24%).
Survey respondents identified five eco-friendly changes they’ve made since the pandemic started:
- Becoming more aware of their impact on their environment (44%)
- Being more careful to purchase eco-friendly products (43%)
- Working to waste less (41%)
- Taking more time to sort their recyclables (30%)
- Composting more (26%)
“These survey results reinforce that Americans can and want to be better recyclers,” said Pete Keller, vice president of sustainability and recycling. “In the face of a pandemic, Americans are rightfully thinking about the steps they can take to be less wasteful. Today more than ever, we have a critical need for recycled cardboard, paper, rigid plastic containers, aluminum and tin for manufacturing and the supply chain in the face of COVID-19.”
To help consumers improve their recycling habits, Republic Services created the Recycling Simplified education campaign, which provides an array of tips and resources, including at-home and school-based lesson plans for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students.
Note: Click here for an infographic highlighting the survey results.
Republic Services, Inc. is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal. Through its subsidiaries, Republic’s collection companies, transfer stations, recycling centers, landfills and environmental services provide effective solutions to make responsible recycling and waste disposal effortless for its customers across the country. Its 36,000 employees are committed to providing a superior experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet® for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world.