Consumers Support Can Recycling Despite Declines

Several reports have chronicled a drop in aluminum can recycling in the United States in recent years, and some communities such as New York are advocating a reduction in recycling programs to pay for other projects. Still, a survey by Montreal-based aluminum producer Alcan Inc. shows that consumers want to recycle aluminum waste. "There seems to be a perception gap, or at least the issue is out of the public mind currently," says Martha Finn Brooks, Alcan senior vice president based in Cleveland. "Americans personally support can recycling, but the reality is there has been a drop in the rate. This is alarming, because we're wasting a valuable resource." Some highlights of the survey of 1,000 Americans, conducted by Leger Marketing, include:

  • 64% felt it somewhat to very important to purchase beverages in containers that can be recycled.
  • 77% said local governments should be funding curbside recycling programs.
  • One-third of respondents said laziness is the top reason most people don't recycle.
In addition, nearly half (47%) erroneously believe aluminum can recycling is on the rise, and about one quarter (22%) said the most effective way to boost recycling is to open more government recycling centers. In response to the drop in recycling, Alcan will launch an education campaign geared toward school children this year and is working with a trade group on a television and radio campaign.
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