• Leadership Update

New ISRI Study Reveals Public’s Perception on Recycling

To gain a better understanding of insights into American’s knowledge about recycling and how they find information regarding it, ISRI recently commissioned a study by Harris Poll.

Recycling obviously has many important economic and environmental benefits, but also a number of misperceptions. However, when Americans were presented with a list of statements, 4 true and 4 false, and asked to select those they believe to be true, less than half were able to identify those which were actually true.


This may be because there is a lack of readily available information about recycling. Over 2 in 5 Americans (44%) say detailed information about recycling is not readily available and that they have to seek it out.


Among those who say information about recycling is not readily available, over half (52%) cite an Internet search as a top resource to find information about recycling (i.e., what can and can't be recycled, the recycling process, etc.).


It seems that a strong majority of the population would benefit with more easily accessible information about recycling provided to them, which in turn could increase recycling efforts.


There is a number of things ISRI is already doing to improve the access of quality information on recycling. This includes partnerships with organizations such as Earth911, Keep America Beautiful, and JASON Learning to make sure relevant, and accurate information is being publicly distributed.


Another area in which ISRI and its members are working to make a difference is through our Materials Recovery (MRF) Council which is currently undertaking the development of a standardized definition for local governments to communicate to their residents about what is, and what is not recyclable. These specifications will be presented to the ISRI Board of Directors in February for approval.


More details on this survey can be found in the Executive Summary, or in the ISRI press releases related to what Americans believe about recycling and where they receive information.


Please contact Senior Director of Media Relations and Online Communications Mark Carpenter with any questions.

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