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Environmental Protection & Preservation

One in Five Americans Suffers From Green Guilt and Many More Confess to Not Recycling

What are you guilty of when it comes to the environment? With Earth Day around the corner, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a non-profit organization dedicated to rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling, decided to find out. RBRC today announced the results of a new survey that identifies Americans' "green" attitudes and habits and shows that most consumers could stand to go a shade or two "greener."

The survey, which was conducted by GFK Custom Research on behalf of RBRC, reveals that 20 percent of Americans suffer from "green guilt," and many more admit to less-than-perfect recycling habits. In fact, only about 52 percent of respondents recycle their glass and cardboard, while roughly 60 percent recycle their newspapers. In addition, approximately one-third of those surveyed recycle their used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, while 14 percent of Americans admitted to not recycling anything at all.

Recycling Reluctance

Those who identified themselves as "recyclers" say that the main reason they recycle is to help preserve the environment. Many (43 percent) who do not recycle all recyclable items are unclear about their local recycling laws and recycling locations, while 34 percent of Americans feel that it takes too much effort to separate their trash. A large group (43 percent) doubts that their individual actions will have any impact on the future of the environment.

This, however, is simply not the case. Consider this: If all morning newspapers read in this country were recycled, 41,000 trees would be saved daily and 6 million tons of waste would never end up in landfills. Even more alarming, U.S. consumers discard enough glass to fill two 1,300 foot skyscrapers every two weeks!

"We actually found the results of the survey encouraging since most Americans are at least recycling something and just need the proper resources and guidance to help them do more for the environment," said Ralph Millard, Executive Vice President, RBRC. "RBRC's Call2Recycle(TM) program can help them do just that since it is a free and convenient solution for individuals to recycle their used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones."

Just One Thing

In addition to recycling habits, the survey also pinpointed other common "green" habits and attitudes, aiming to identify the one thing that could most easily be incorporated into consumers' lifestyles in order to protect the environment. Approximately one-quarter of respondents felt that they could easily turn off their air conditioning or heat when not at home, while 19 percent said that they could unplug appliances that are not in use. In addition, nearly 15 percent felt that the easiest habit to adopt would be recycling their used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, whereas roughly 12 percent would rather bring a coffee mug to their local coffee shop, instead of using paper or Styrofoam cups. Respondents also indicated a willingness to take fewer napkins at fast food restaurants and delis (10 percent), or opt for online bill statements (8 percent).

"It is clear that there are many simple things that we can do on a regular basis that have a positive impact on our environment," said Danny Seo, best- selling author and America's green living authority. "If everyone did 'Just One Thing,' the impact for the earth would be considerable. One of the easiest ways to help is by simply recycling your old rechargeable batteries and cell phones through the Call2Recycle program."

Make Your Neighbors "Green" With Envy
Try these other simple environmentally-friendly tips:
  • Conserve energy by switching your regular incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). These light bulbs typically last four times longer than incandescent bulbs and use a quarter of the wattage of other bulbs.
  • Adjust your thermostat. Turning it down just two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer can save a significant amount of energy.
  • Bring your own re-usable shopping bags to the supermarket as an alternative to plastic and paper bags. This not only protects the environment but prevents your bags from breaking on the trip home from the market.
Just as many habits are easy to adopt, there are clearly others that are hard to break. Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed admitted that they could never switch to cloth diapers from disposables, nor would they ever buy a hybrid car.

Whether it is recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones, using green cleaning products or simply unplugging appliances, there are hundreds of ways for Americans to "go green" this Earth Day -- thereby truly ridding themselves of "green guilt." RBRC encourages all Americans to pitch in and find "just one thing" they can do to help preserve the environment today and every day after.

For more information on recycling laws and local drop-off locations in your area, log on to the Call2Recycle website or call toll free at 877-2-RECYCLE for local retailers and community centers that collect used rechargeable batteries and cell phones.

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