Survey Shows “Green Guilt” is Up Among Americans

Manufacturers Should Share Cost of Recycling Old Products, Say More than Half of Respondents; Many Cite Need for Greater Emphasis on Environmental Responsibility in 2012 Presidential Campaigns

ATLANTA (April 19, 2012) – A new survey commissioned by Call2Recycle® shows 29 percent of Americans admit to suffering from “green guilt,” defined as the knowledge that you could and should be doing more to help preserve the environment. The finding represents more than double the percentage (12 percent) who professed to feel guilty in 2009, according to the Call2Recycle survey, which periodically tracks Americans’ attitudes and behaviors around proper product disposal and environmental responsibility. Call2Recycle is the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America.

According to the survey, more than half of Americans (57 percent) say they have old electronics that they need to dispose of or discard, including cell phones (46 percent), computers (33 percent) and TVs (25 percent), followed by cordless phones (19 percent) and rechargeable batteries (17 percent).

“We see this as a positive. Whether due to the recovering economy or for other reasons, consumers are stimulated to think about the proper disposal of old electronics and conscious of the impact today’s actions have on the state of our planet,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle. “The 2012 survey shows that Americans increasingly feel an obligation to recycle, and that they share responsibility with manufacturers and others to reduce the environmental impact of many products.” Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted more than 70 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from local landfills and established a network of 30,000 recycling drop-off locations.

The survey shows that many Americans have good intentions. Eighty-four percent say they have recycled in the past year to help the environment; as well as turned out lights/unplugged rechargers (68 percent); and purchased “green” products (53 percent). Nearly one quarter say they recycle their electronics if they can reap a financial benefit.

When asked what barriers to recycling exist, 44 percent say not knowing how or where to recycle old technology, while 19 percent say a local store doesn’t offer a program. Other constraints cited include difficulty finding a collection event (16 percent) and lack of municipal recycling options (15 percent). Reasons for not doing more to protect the environment in general include not knowing what to do (32 percent); and not having the time (26 percent).

Product disposal is joint responsibility

The survey shows that Americans (slightly more women than men) believe that proper product disposal should be shared among manufacturers, retailers, consumers and dedicated recycling programs or organizations.

When asked about extended producer responsibility, more than half (52 percent) of Americans say they believe that manufacturers should bear the cost of recycling their product after consumers are finished with it. But, they’re almost equally split about their willingness to pay more for an item if a manufacturer took care of its proper disposal – - 38 percent (notably more men than women) say yes, while 39 percent say no.

Americans’ attitude about shared responsibility could suggest that preserving the environment and adopting environmentally-friendly behaviors requires increased collective awareness and action. During the current political season when topical issues are front and center, many believe environmental issues stand to gain importance. Nearly two in five (40 percent) say there’s not enough emphasis on environmental responsibility as a campaign issue.

Call2Recycle is the nation’s most comprehensive rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling solution, providing a free and convenient way to recycle cell phones and echargeable batteries found in cordless electronic products, such as laptop computers, digital cameras, cordless power tools, two-way radios, mp3 players and camcorders. For more information and to find local drop-off locations, visit www.call2recycle.org.

The online survey, conducted by Toluna PLC, assessed the opinions and attitudes of 1,041 adults over 18. Interviews were conducted from April 6-9, 2012. The full survey results are available upon request.

Call2Recycle® is a product stewardship program providing no-cost battery and cellphone recycling solutions across the U.S. and Canada. Operated by Call2Recycle, Inc., a 501(c)4 nonprofit public service organization, the program is funded by battery and product manufacturers committed to responsible recycling.