Study Finds Women Are 'Recycling Enforcers'

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A survey conducted by Plastics Make It Possible shows that 70 percent of households make recycling a priority, and more than two-thirds of these residents cite that the woman of the home serves as the “recycling enforcer.”

As a part of America Recycles Day, the study profiled Americans’ recycling habits and proved that the “out of sight, out of mind” attitude is no longer dominant. According to the survey, 82 percent of Americans understand that their recycled plastic bottle can be made into lumber for homes and decks, car bumpers, life jackets, boat sails, rope and T-shirts.

Photo: Amanda Wills,

Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the U.S. Today, there are more than 10,000 curbside programs across the country. Photo: Amanda Wills,

But while 80 percent of U.S. households have access to plastics recycling programs, according to Steve Russell, vice president, Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, Americans still have a long way to go.

“It’s encouraging to see that more and more Americans are making an effort to recycle at home, but there is still a huge opportunity to educate and motivate the remaining third who don’t,” said Russell.

“Many plastics can be easily recycled in most communities and given a second life as carpet, clothing, furniture, backyard decks, new bottles and bags, and other products we use every day.”

The U.S. EPA estimates that 75 percent of what Americans throw in the trash could actually be recycled. The current recycling rate for the U.S. hovers around 30 percent, which saves the equivalent of more than 5 billion gallons of gasoline, reducing dependence on foreign oil by 114 million barrels.