New research from Republic Services shows that despite the high level of trust in knowledge, most consumers don’t understand how to properly recycle plastics, in particular. In fact, the confusion over which plastics should be recycled has led some to abandon recycling entirely at a time when the demand for recycled plastics is at an all-time high.
As brands set ambitious targets for recycled content in packaging and states begin to adopt minimum recycled content standards, the demand for high-quality recycled plastics will only increase, but the right kind of recycled plastics will continue to grow. The current supply of is in short supply. November 15th is America’s Recycle Day. To mark this day, Republic Services is sharing information to help address misconceptions about plastic recycling and educate consumers about recycling best practices.
“America Recycle Day is an opportunity for everyone to educate themselves about proper recycling,” said Pete Keller, Vice President of Recycling and Sustainability for Republic Services. “Republic Services is committed to helping consumers understand which common plastic products can be recycled, meeting demand and moving the circular economy forward in the long term.”
The study analyzed the recycling knowledge and habits of over 2,000 US consumers. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said they knew what types of plastic they could recycle, but 61% said flexible plastics, including grocery bags and bubble wrap, could be recycled in street bins. We mistakenly believe that we can.
When it comes to recycling practices, water bottles, milk jugs, and laundry detergent jugs are some of the most widely accepted recyclables, but consumers don’t always recycle them. When asked about the items they consistently recycle, they said:
- 62% of consumers recycle plastic bottles
- 51% recycled milk jug
- 43% recycle laundry detergent jugs
Republic Services is committed to educating consumers on proper recycling practices so that their good intentions don’t go to waste. When recycling plastic:
- Focus on recycling hard plastics such as bottles, jugs and pails labeled #1, #2 or #5.
- Always make sure your recyclables are empty, clean and dry
- Always remember to check what your service provider accepts as recycled materials vary by location
- Do not put recycled items in bags