THE majority of Americans are worried about the future of the planet but coronavirus has propelled their eco-friendly habits.
Six in 10 Americans are concerned with the environment and the Covid-19 crisis appears to have had an impact on how they're addressing that.
The survey of 2,250 Americans — split evenly between nine major cities — revealed 58 percent of respondents are reevaluating their eco-friendly habits as a result of the pandemic.
While 65 percent confess to being “constantly” worried about the future of the environment, the same number said coronavirus was a wake-up call for them to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Republic Services in advance of America Recycles Day, the survey delved into the ways COVID-19 changed respondents' habits.
The top eco-friendly change respondents made during this time was becoming more aware of their impact on their environment (44 percent).
That was followed by being more careful to purchase eco-friendly products (43 percent) and working to waste less (41 percent).
Rounding out the top five eco-friendly changes were taking more time to sort their recyclables (30 percent) and composting more (26 percent).
Results also revealed 62 percent of respondents said spending time at home in recent months due to quarantine has made them more aware of their eco-unfriendly habits, which has likely helped prompt these changes.
Spending more time at home due to the pandemic has also made 77 percent of respondents more likely to recycle.
Out of those people, 57 percent said it would be a lasting change.
Meanwhile, 75 percent of respondents said recycling is a simple action everyone can take to be more environmentally friendly.
HOW HAS COVID-19 CHANGED RESPONDENTS’ ECO-FRIENDLY HABITS?
The virus has changed many things, including our habits:
I'm more aware of my impact on the environment – 44 percent
I've been careful to purchase more eco-friendly products – 43 percent
I've worked to waste less/conserve more resources – 41 percent
I've been better about sorting my recyclables – 30 percent
I've started composting more – 26 percent
“These survey results reinforce that Americans can and want to be better recyclers,” said Pete Keller, Republic Services 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, we have a critical need for recycled cardboard, paper, rigid plastic containers, aluminum and tin for manufacturing and the supply chain in the face of COVID-19.”
But even though respondents recognize the importance of recycling, they don’t always do it.
Results found those surveyed only recycle about 52 percent of the time — and the biggest barrier was revealed to be as simple as a lack of space in their home for an extra bin (30 percent).
That was followed by a lack of understanding of what can and can’t be recycled (26 percent) and a belief that their recycling isn’t actually recycled (24 percent).
“One way people can improve their recycling habits is by educating themselves,” said Keller.
“This is important at home, in schools, workplaces, etc. — and to help achieve this goal, we created Recycling Simplified, which provides an array of tips and resources for pre-kindergarten through 12-grade students.
"By reinforcing recycling best practices in our schools, we can reduce recycling contamination rates and ensure local recycling programs remain sustainable for future generations.”
WHAT’S HOLDING RESPONDENTS BACK FROM RECYCLING MORE?
What are the main reasons people aren’t recycling more?
Lack of space in my home for an extra bin – 30 percent
Don't understand what can and can't be recycled – 26 percent
Don't think my recycling is actually recycled – 24 percent
Lack of convenient access – 20 percent
Don't have enough information regarding recycling – 18 percent
I'm too lazy – 16 percent
Don't believe recycling makes a difference – 16 percent
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