1 in 4 Americans Recycle all of Their Plastic Waste, Study Says
One in four Americans recycle all of their plastic waste, according to “The State of Plastic Recycling,” a new report commissioned by Hi-Cone, an Itasca, Ill.-based manufacturer of beverage multi-packaging solutions.
Hi-Cone surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Spain for the report. While 26 percent of Americans recycle all of their plastic waste, about 34 percent combined recycle it from the other countries, the study found. Additionally, when compared to their counterparts, Americans were the least likely to think that recycling plastics is beneficial for the environment. The study also noted that 19 percent of those from all countries surveyed said they do not recycle any of their plastic waste.
More than half of American adults also reported that they regularly recycle anything in public or at home. However, 52 percent reported that they didn’t know how to recycle some types of plastic.
Overall, only 3 percent of adults in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Spain believe that everything that is put into recycling bins is recycled. The report makes it clear that there is a lack of global trust in current recycling systems as well as a lack of understanding on how to recycle plastics.
“There is a great need to create a more transparent process and clear guidance for consumers when it comes to the development of a circular economy and better recycling practices,” Hi-Cone’s Vice President and General Manager Shawn Welch said. “Only by understanding consumer beliefs, national programs and global goals can the industry make real progress in sustainability.”
Hi-Cone said the findings of the report aim to provide clarity for the packaging industry and consumers on what challenges and opportunities lie ahead on the road to a more sustainable future.
“Open communication between the industry and the public will help prevent further environmental risk down the road by stopping the current trend of solving one problem and replacing it with an even bigger one,” Welch noted, referring to a recent Green Alliance report that warns of the potential environmental risks of banning plastic packaging in favor of other materials that have larger carbon footprints and therefore can be seen as detrimental to the environment.
Hi-Cone’s Sustainability Director Jennifer Perr said the company’s commitment to the circular economy and sustainability is to reduce, recycle and reuse.
“Reduce the amount of virgin plastic; recycle with the increase of the creation of better infrastructures; and reuse the plastic,” she added. “We have to stop thinking of plastic as waste and start seeing it as a renewable resource that must be disposed of properly.”