Pandemic-Driven Concerns Prompt A Recycling Wake-Up Call

Nov 12, 2020 5:30 PM ET
Blog

Has the COVID-19 pandemic made you more or less likely to recycle and do other things that are good for the environment? According to a recent survey we sponsored, 58% of us are reevaluating our eco-friendly habits as a result of the pandemic, pointing to at least one positive outcome from a very stressful 2020. 
 
Of the 2,250 Americans surveyed by OnePoll on behalf of Republic Services, six in ten reported they are worried about the future of the environment — but it's also helping them change their eco-friendly habits. About 65% said the pandemic has acted as a wake-up call for them to make sustainable choices, especially as they relate to recycling.

Of the 2,250 Americans surveyed, 75% 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 followed by a lack of understanding of what can and can’t be recycled.

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, Republic’s 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 in the face of COVID-19, our manufacturing and supply chain has a critical need for recycled cardboard, paper, rigid plastic containers, aluminum, and tin.”

There’s no better time to make a commitment to our environment than America Recycles Day on November 15. To clear up some of the confusion surrounding recycling, we’ve created a simple guide to show you what to recycle