EREF to conduct nationwide study on consumers’ recycling behaviors and understanding

The random study will entail asking people across different regions of the country about their current recycling habits, including how often they recycle and where they place specific household items.

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December 1, 2020

The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) announced Dec. 1 that it is launching a nationwide research study to better understand current recycling and discard behavior among U.S. consumers.

The random study will entail asking people across different regions of the country about their current recycling habits. For example, consumers will be asked how often they recycle and where they place specific household items, such as toothpaste tubes, clamshell plastic containers and batteries.

The study also hopes to provide greater insight into how recycling labels affect consumer behavior. Survey respondents will be shown several types of labels and be asked to identify their usage.

In addition, respondents will be asked several questions about their recycling habits surrounding batteries, including the two most common varieties—alkaline (such as AAA and AA) and lithium-ion (such as those found in mobile phones).

“This is an important study to give us a baseline of understanding as to whether or not consumers understand common labels on products and packaging,” says Suzie Boxman, data and policy program manager for EREF and lead researcher on the project. “We also want to have a better picture of battery recycling behavior, which is a critically important area of research since we know fires from batteries at recycling sites and other facilities are a major concern.”