To help mark the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, hundreds of groups across North America have registered their events on earthday.org. Although numerous associations are doing their part to help fuel the environmental movement, consumers still are looking for guidance when it comes to one of the most common environmental practices: recycling.
A national survey administered by Research+Data+Insights for the Carton Council of North America found that 91 percent of consumers say they expect food and beverage brands to actively help increase the recycling of their packages. With responses from nearly 2,500 U.S. adults, the survey documents this as a 5 percent increase compared with 2013 research that asked the same question.
The data also highlights that environmental issues continue to be top-of-mind for consumers with 77 percent saying it’s a consideration when making final purchase decisions. But when it comes to knowledge about the recyclability of a package, consumers are turning to brand owners.
Sixty-seven percent of consumers report they presume a package is not recyclable if it does not have a recycling symbol or language on it. Additionally, 57 percent of consumers look to a product’s packaging first for recycling information, the council reports. A local community website is second followed by the product’s company website at 34 and 28 percent, respectively.
“The survey results reiterate what we have long believed, that we must work together — the packaging manufacturers, brands and everyone in between — to ensure we are talking to consumers in a clear way about the recyclability of our products,” said Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council of North America and vice president of environment for Tetra Pak Americas, in a statement. “This reinforces the importance of having the recycling logo on all packaging, but especially food and beverage cartons. Since access to carton recycling has been growing tremendously in the last seven years, there are still consumers who want to do the right thing but don’t know cartons can be recycled where they live.”
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) also is ramping up its effort to help improve recycling for consumers. IBWA signed on as the newest funding partner of The Recycling Partnership, joining Kimberly-Clark, the Consumer Technology Association and Heineken USA.
“The bottled water industry is actively working to build partnerships that will help increase recycling efforts, and the reliable, scalable results that The Recycling Partnership delivers are hitting the mark for us,” said Chris Hogan, IBWA vice president of communications, in a statement. “The recycling rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers has more than doubled in the last 10 years and they are the most frequently recycled PET beverage containers in curbside recycling programs. As an industry, we are always looking for ways to strengthen existing programs and help to expand recycling efforts even further.”
As consumers celebrate Earth Day, it’s great to see so many beverage market associations doing their part as well.