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Plastics Make it Possible® Says: Buy Recycled 

A new national survey released today on America Recycles Day finds most Americans feeling less than confidant that they’re doing enough to help the environment—and many say they don’t really know how. 

Only 37 percent of Americans in the survey say they’re “doing enough for the environment,” and less than half (46 percent) say they are “knowledgeable about what it takes to be eco-friendly in my daily life.” Two thirds of Americans say they would like to learn some simple steps that help the planet. 

Plastics Make it Possible®, which commissioned the survey by Kelton Research for America Recycles Day, offers one simple approach: buy recycled. 

“It’s never been easier to recycle in America, especially the plastic bottles, caps and containers that we use every day,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, which sponsors the Plastics Make it Possible® initiative. “And today there are lots of opportunities to close the recycling loop by purchasing products made with recycled materials, such as plastics.” 

The good news is that almost all Americans now have access to recycling—and more than 90 percent say they recycle in their daily lives, according to the survey. However, the next part of the recycling loop—looking for products made with recycled materials—is not as widespread. With the holiday retail season upon us, only 28 percent say they will look for gifts this year made with recycled materials, according to the survey. 

“Recycling keeps valuable materials out of the landfill so they can become new products,” Russell said. “But the next step is just as important—by seeking out everyday products and holiday gifts made with recycled materials, consumers close the recycling loop and create demand for even more recycling.” 

Recycled plastics, for example, are used to make a wide range of consumer goods, such as clothing, kitchenware, and garden tools, that can make great eco-friendly gifts. In 2012 the company REPREVE® turned nearly one billion plastic bottles into yarn and fabrics used to make items for companies such as Patagonia, LK Life Khaki and Ford. The number and kinds of products made with recycled plastics is growing dramatically as plastic recycling expands. While the survey finds that many Americans may not know how to be eco-friendly, most are doing at least something to find out—more than three quarters (78 percent) say they have taken some action to learn more about which products are collected for recycling in their community.