• Press Release

New Poll Reveals Lack of Information Causes Consumer Confusion over Plastics Recycling

(Washington, DC) – The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and Earth911 today released the results of an online poll illustrating the reasons for confusion over plastics recycling and the need for municipalities to better educate consumers on how to treat recyclables. The results indicate that 65 percent of people do not understand what is acceptable when recycling plastics.

“With more and more plastic being produced, it essential that plastic products that have reached end of life enter the recycling stream,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “As long as confusion reigns, consumers are apt to throw plastics away that should be recycled. This Earth911/ISRI Opinion Poll demonstrates a strong need for additional education, particularly by municipalities, on what can be recycled and how to do it.”

ISRI is working to clear up confusion by developing plastic scrap specifications and hosting educational workshops for the industry. It is also partnering with other stakeholders to address this issue of redefining the resin 1-7 code numbers through its membership in ASTM.

In 2011, 4.5 billion pounds of post-consumer plastic including, bottles, bags, film, and non-rigid plastics were recycled in the United States. The use of recycled plastics is instrumental in reducing energy consumption as it takes up to 87 percent less energy to produce plastic from recyclables than from virgin materials. Global production of plastics is expanding. Between 1950 and 2011, production grew at an average rate of nine percent annually, reaching 280 million tons with projected future growth.

The poll question and answer results are below:

What do you find most confusing about recycling plastic?

  1. Knowing how much food contamination is acceptable. 37%
  2. Understanding what types of plastic my municipality accepts in their curbside recycling program. 28%
  3. Finding where I can recycle plastics. 18%
  4. The meaning of the recycling numbers. 17%

Note: The Earth911/ISRI Opinion Poll was conducted via the Earth911 website (www.Earth911.com) from May 19, to July 23, 2014, and was answered by 1,177 individuals.

To find out where to recycle other items at a location near you, visit the Earth911 Recycling Guide.


About ISRI
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the Voice of the Recycling Industry™. ISRI represents more than 1,600 companies in 21 chapters nationwide that process, broker and industrially consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides safety, education, advocacy, 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.

About Earth911, Inc.
Earth911 (earth911.com) is a lifestyle and media publishing company that helps consumers live a zero waste lifestyle.  Earth911 connects advertising partners with consumers in all aspects of their daily lives, from work and home to food and style. In addition, Earth911 offers the largest directory of recycling information in the United States. Earth911 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: QRHC).  

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