Survey: Green Motives Often Involve Children's Future

In 2008, Americans increasingly feel an obligation to recycle and protect the environment for the sake of future generations. In fact, a new survey revealed that children are the primary reason that Americans admit to suffering from "green guilt" – the feeling consumers have when they aren't doing everything they know that they can and should be doing to protect the environment.

GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media conducted the survey on behalf of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp.

An overwhelming majority (91 percent) of respondents say that the reason they recycle is because of the impact their efforts will have on their children's future. Nearly 20 percent of Americans say they would do more to preserve the environment – and relieve some of their "green guilt"-- if they had a child. However, 30 percent of respondents still admit that switching to cloth diapers is one thing they could not bring themselves to do to be "greener."

Overall, the number of people who did not experience "green guilt" (42 percent) decreased from last year (51 percent), perhaps suggesting that Americans are increasingly realizing that their actions to preserve the environment – large and small – can make a difference.

The survey reports that nearly 90 percent of Americans are recycling at least one item. Rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling efforts increased by 10 percentage points and 8 percentage points from 2007, respectively, with 37 percent of Americans recycling used rechargeable batteries and 41 percent recycling old cell phones. Other commonly recycled items include aluminum cans, plastic, and newspapers.

While there are hundreds of ways to "go green," this survey pinpointed simple things Americans can easily incorporate into their lifestyles. The largest group of respondents (23 percent) said they would bring their own tote bag to the grocery store rather than use a plastic bag. Seventeen percent would turn off the air conditioning or heat when they are not home or unplug appliances that are not in use. Additionally, 11 percent indicated a willingness to recycle old cell phones and used rechargeable batteries.

The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. is a nonprofit, public service organization dedicated to rechargeable battery recycling. Findings cited here are from a national random digit dial telephone survey of 1,004 adults (18+) in the contiguous United States. All interviews were conducted from March 27-30, 2008. 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.

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