Here, for a change, is good news about the environment: Americans are recycling their food and beverage cartons more than ever and continue to look to brands to actively help drive the recycling of their products’ packages, according to a new survey.
What The People Want
The national study commissioned by the Carton Council of North America showed that 61 percent of respondents report they always recycle their food and beverage cartons, up 11 percentage points from when the survey was last conducted two years ago. Nearly all — 94 percent — think recycling is important and 74 percent believe recycling should be made a priority.
People also have high environmental expectations for the brands they buy. Consumers overwhelmingly expect food and beverage brands to be committed to recycling. More than nine out of 10 said brands should take an active role in helping to increase the recycling of packages. And 56 percent said their loyalty to a food or beverage brand is affected by the brand’s engagement with environmental causes.
How To Tell Whether Something Is Recyclable
The survey showed that packaging remains the top source for determining recyclability, while friends and family as well as the news gained momentum. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that if a package did not have a recycling symbol or language indicating the item is recyclable, they would assume it’s not.
One help is that now food and beverage cartons can carry the standard “Please Recycle’’ logo. The ability to use the label is based on the milestone that more than 60 percent of U.S. households have access to carton recycling, a threshold set by the Federal Trade Commission green guidelines for packaging.
However, just because a package doesn’t have a recycling symbol, doesn’t mean that it’s not recyclable. To find out, consumers should call their local community or visit its website.
“The survey findings highlight that as more Americans have gained access to food and beverage carton recycling, awareness that cartons are recyclable has also increased,’’ explained Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America and circular economy director for Tetra Pak. The Carton Council works to deliver long-term collaborative solutions to divert valuable cartons from the landfill.