Children, Hispanic Consumers Emerge as Strongest Recycling Advocates

Nearly three-​quarters (72%) of consumers consistently recycle in the home, but despite a genuine concern for the environment, only about half do so in rooms beyond the kitchen. According to a new study from Cone, in partnership with the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies as part of its Care To Recycle program, there are several key barriers to expanding recycling in the home, including the lack of room-​specific recycling bins and clear product labeling.


Consumers state that not having a recycling bin in each room is the number one roadblock to recycling more. In fact, nearly one-​in-​five (17%) would recycle more often if they had better or more convenient recycling bins throughout the house. But, the majority (56%) of recyclers keeps bins in the kitchen, as opposed to other rooms throughout the house, such as the garage/​basement (43%), laundry room (21%) or bathroom (14%).

Bins aren’t the only roadblock to recycling. Consumers also fault not knowing what products or packaging are recyclable and the amount of space recycling requires as additional factors in favor of tossing recyclables in the trash.  Companies who want to make an impact need to prioritize sustainability messages on their products in order to educate consumers on what can be recycled.

Of the consumers who do recycle, the majority does so because of a genuine concern for the environment (42%). Just 10% of Americans recycle solely because it is mandatory in their communities. Other motivations to recycle include:

  • Guilt about the amount of trash or waste they create (17%)
  • Desire to be a good role model (14%)
  • The chance to earn money, rewards or incentives (14%)


Hispanic consumers are more steadfast than the general public in their commitment to recycling. More than half (53%) reports always recycling in the home, compared to 46% of the average population. Hispanic recyclers also want to ensure products find their way to the proper receptacles – be it a trash can or recycling bin.

Children also have a vital role to play in helping the household recycle. Parents report their children:

  • Are very motivated to recycle in the home (62%)
  • Are always looking for ways to protect the planet (60%)
  • Educate the rest of the family about the benefits of recycling (50%)

And, schools are a major stakeholder in the recycling effort; according to two-​thirds (66%) of parents, that is where children learn about the positive impact of recycling.

Ad-​ology Research has discovered that nearly 14% of Americans identify themselves as environmental cause supporters — those who are concerned about the environment and who may be willing to invest time or money in this cause.  Environmental cause supporters are much more likely than the average consumer to have a higher than average income, are more willing to pay for quality, and are considerably more likely to switch brands to support an important cause/​charity, if all things are equal.  In addition, 34% of environmental cause supporters read their favorite newspaper (in print or online) almost every day.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO.  Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.