• Pew Research Study Finds Social Norms Shape Recycling Views - Thursday, January 5, 2017 at



  • An article in the December issue of Biocycle reports the findings of a Pew Research survey that found social norms shape how we think about recycling. 

    According to the study, 28 percent of Americans say they live in areas that strongly encourage recycling while 22 percent say they do not. The rest of Americans are somewhere in the middle.

    Not surprisingly, in a Columbia study cited in the Pew report, California, with its potent recycling policies and messaging, had the highest recovery rates for municipal solid waste in the nation (53.4 percent) followed by Maine (51.5 percent) and Washington (50.1 percent). States with the lowest rates were Oklahoma (3.7 percent), Alaska (4.5 percent) and Mississippi (4.8 percent).

    Bottom line: when recycling is seen as a priority, the public responds by recycling more. That means it's important that we keep getting the word out that recycling saves valuable resources and helps protect the environment. This effort is making an impact. An EPA study included in the Pew report shows that the amount of waste Americans generate each day has fallen from 4.7 pounds per day in 2006 to 4.4 pounds in 2013. Americans are now recycling or composting 1.51 pounds of waste each day. That's good news!

    To read the full Pew Research report, click here.

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