The recycling rate in the U.S. has increased by only 6% over the past decade, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Boston University and University of Alberta.
So what’s stopping people from recycling more?
The findings of the study reveal that the issue may be of a psychological nature. The researchers found that if an item looks damaged, small, ripped, or deformed – a dented can for example – it typically gets tossed in the trash.
However, if the item is viewed as whole – a can that is not dented, a sheet of paper – it is usually sent to the recycling bin.
Encourage Recycling in Your Facility
“This is a ‘mind-set’ issue and I do not believe [we must ask] manufacturers to redesign or repackage their items just so they do not lose their form,” says Stephen Ashkin, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools.
Ashkin suggests that facility managers place signs near bins that alert people that recyclable materials can be recycled in any form – big or small.
Altering people’s perceptions of what is and isn’t recyclable could be a big win for a facility’s sustainability initiative.
The full report was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.