Survey Shows "Green Guilt" Is Down Sharply

Are consumers doing more for the environment or has the economy taken priority over “green”?

ATLANTA, April 21, 2009 – According to an Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted for Call2Recycle®, 50 percent fewer Americans admit to suffering from “green guilt” than last year, with just one in ten consumers experiencing guilt over their environmental behavior. Green guilt is the feeling consumers have when they aren't doing everything they know that they can and should be doing to protect the environment. Are Americans increasingly realizing – and assuming – their responsibility to do their part for the environment? Or rather has the slumping economy affected Americans’ motivation to be green, with financial concerns eclipsing environmental issues?

For the past three years, Call2Recycle has been tracking Americans’ level of green guilt. This year’s substantial decline in guilt could potentially be attributed to increased action on the part of consumers, whether it’s buying green products, conserving electricity or recycling. But on the other hand, it could arise out of environmental apathy brought about by financial concerns. In a slumping economy, people are overwhelmingly motivated by cost-savings; as a result, the environment slips in importance and green guilt doesn’t even register on their radar.

“It’s encouraging to see that consumers are feeling less guilt over their environmental actions, and based on the results of this survey, we’d like to believe that it is because people are doing more for the environment, “said Carl Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation. “We found that the majority of Americans look for products with green features or benefits and are willing to pay more for them, recognizing that green choices can also have a lasting economic benefit.”

Americans’ shift in attitude could suggest that preserving the environment and adopting environmentally friendly behaviors isn’t simply a fad or trend. When asked about motivations for purchasing green products, less than 30 percent of respondents indicated that they do so because of peer pressure. Rather, the majority of Americans recognize the economic benefits of environmentally friendly behavior, with nearly eight out of ten indicating that they buy green because they see a long-term cost-savings. In fact, more than half of respondents indicating a willingness to pay a premium for eco-friendly products (57 percent) or services from eco-conscious companies (55 percent). There are many things that consumers can to do save money that are also beneficial to the environment. For example, the survey found that in the next six months, four out of five respondents (84 percent) are likely to recycle household materials like glass, plastic and newspapers, while 74 percent will buy compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). One simple – and free – way consumers can protect the environment is by recycling household items like newspapers, aluminum cans, glass, plastics, rechargeable batteries and electronics. The overwhelming majority of respondents (92 percent) currently recycle at least one item. Rechargeable battery recycling efforts are on the rise, up five percentage points over last year, with 42 percent of Americans recycling used rechargeable batteries, while 43 percent indicate that they recycle old cellphones.

“We’re pleased to see rechargeable battery recycling rates increasing again this year and we hope that more consumers will join these efforts and take advantage of the Call2Recycle® collection infrastructure,” continued Smith. Recycling rechargeable batteries is free and easy with the nationwide Call2Recycle program, administered by RBRC. Call2Recycle is the nation’s most comprehensive rechargeable battery and cellphone recycling solution, providing a free and convenient way to recycle old cellphones and used rechargeable 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 or call toll-free 877-2-RECYCLE.

The full survey results are available upon request.

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About Call2Recycle®
Call2Recycle is the industry’s first and only product
stewardship program for rechargeable batteries. The nonprofit program
is administered by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation
(RBRC), a public service organization dedicated to rechargeable battery
recycling. There are more than 30,000 Call2Recycle drop-off locations
throughout the U.S. and Canada. More than 175 manufacturers
and marketers of portable rechargeable batteries and products show
their commitment to conserve natural resources and prevent rechargeable
batteries from entering the solid waste stream by funding the
Call2Recycle program. In pursuit of its mission, Call2Recycle also
collects old cellphones, which are either recycled or refurbished and
resold when possible with a portion of the proceeds benefiting select
charities. For more information, call 877-2-RECYCLE or visit

About the survey
Findings cited in this release are from a national random digit dial (RDD) telephone survey of 1,002 adults (18+) in the contiguous U.S.. All interviews were conducted from April 2-5, 2009. Findings for the total sample are projectable to the American adult population within a +/-3 margin of error, on average, at the 95 percent confidence level. The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Crenshaw Communications.

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