Click

In This Section:

News & Publications

Have Questions?

Mark Carpenter
Sr. Director of Communications
MarkCarpenter@isri.org
(202) 662-8525

by Mark Carpenter | Jan 04, 2017

Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Do Not Have Information on Recycling Available to Them

People are forced to seek out on information on how to recycle

(Washington, DC) – According to a new survey released by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), and conducted online by Harris Poll, more than 103 million Americans1 over the age of 18 must rely on their own devices to figure out what can and cannot be recycled, information about the recycling process, and other details about recycling. This total represents 44 percent of the adult population. As a result many of these people rely on Internet searches (52 percent), proactively seeking out information from local government sources (21 percent), family/friends (18 percent), or other sources for information on recycling.

“It is deeply troubling to know that almost half of adults do not have access to recycling information,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “When people do not know how, what, or where to recycle, it can lead to trash entering and contaminating the recycling stream. It could also lead to recyclable materials ending up in landfills. Further public education on recycling by municipalities is needed to clear up confusion, promote proper recycling, and thereby increase recycling rates.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Just over half (56%) of Americans say detailed information about recycling is readily available to them, while 44% say it's not and that they have to seek it out.
  • Overall, 36% of Americans say that they either seek out or are provided with detailed information about recycling from their local government.
    • Among those who say detailed information about recycling is readily available to them - 49% say it's provided by their local government.
    • Among those who have to seek out detailed information about recycling - 21% say they go to local government to seek it out.
  • Overall, 39% of Americans say that they either seek out or are provided with detailed information about recycling from the Internet.
    • Among those who say detailed information about recycling is readily available to them - 30% say it's provided on the Internet.
    • Among those who have to seek out detailed information about recycling - 52% say they go to the Internet.
  • Whether or not it is provided or sought out, only 6% of respondents received information from local schools.
  • Of all respondents, 18% received information from their local garbage man.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of ISRI from December 16-20, 2016 among 2,088 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Mark Carpenter.

###

 

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the Voice of the Recycling Industry. ISRI represents approximately 1,300 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and 34 countries worldwide that process, broker and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, ISRI provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment, and sustainable development. Generating more than $105 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a million Americans with good jobs.