The effects of COVID-19 have put caring for the environment into focus for many Southerners, as a sixth agree we must take action now, according to new survey results from ecoATM Gazelle The coronavirus pandemic has finally united the nation around the issue of climate change with more than a third of respondents agreeing we […]
One Nation Under Smog – West
The effects of COVID-19 have put caring for the environment into focus for many people living on the West Coast, as a fifth agree we must take action now, according to new survey results from ecoATM Gazelle
- The coronavirus pandemic has finally united the nation around the issue of climate change with more than a third of respondents agreeing we can all make a difference
- West Coasters have already started to make behavioral changes with two thirds recycling multiple times a week and a third wasting less food
- Over half are still confused about what can and cannot be recycled
- Those living in the West believe it’s the responsibility of the Government and companies who focus on sustainability to educate about recycling rules
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (April 16, 2020) – This Earth Day looks set to be more poignant than ever as the current pandemic has jolted a fifth of all West Coasters (21 percent) into realizing the need to take action now to protect the planet.
The research1, commissioned earlier this month by reCommerce experts, ecoATM Gazelle, reveals that since the coronavirus pandemic began, over one in ten (13 percent) more West Coasters now agree climate change is a real thing and an additional third (31 percent) believe we can all make a difference. A further one in ten (13 percent) think the pandemic was Mother Nature’s revenge for the way we have been exploiting the Earth for decades.
Just as quickly as the country has taken itself indoors to protect fellow Americans, the resulting changes to West Coasters behavior have also had a positive impact on the planet and our environment. Triggered by the shelter-at-home directions, the research shows almost half (48 percent) of those living in the South are driving less, resulting in a huge drop in air pollution across the globe and driving the EPA to report that LA currently has some of the cleanest air in the world2. What’s more, the research shows that nearly one in ten (10 percent) hope to reduce what they put in the trash and as such, two thirds (64 percent) are now recycling multiple times a week.
It doesn’t stop there, as a third (34 percent) say the pandemic has inspired them to waste less food and one in ten (9 percent) are more conscious about turning off lights, AC and heating when not in use, proving West Coasters really are using this opportunity to make a difference.
Despite the good intentions, confusion surrounding what can and cannot be recycled may still be holding West Coasters back from doing all that they truly can. Over half (61 percent) feel confused on the matter, stemming from a lack of clear guidelines available (31 percent), no recycling facilities close to their home (8 percent) and a number thinking there are too many different trash bins (5 per cent).
Common consumer goods are perplexing people in the West the most. The research reveals two fifths (41 percent) incorrectly believe paper towels, receipts and aluminum foil can be recycled. A third (31 percent) think to-go coffee cups can be too, when in fact their unique paper to plastic material means only 1 in 400 can be recycled2, resulting in 50 billion take-out cups ending up in US landfills annually3.
According to the research, over half (52 percent) were unaware devices such as laptops, cell phones and tablets could be recycled to help alleviate the global e-waste problem, which has become the fastest growing waste stream in the world.
“There is something bittersweet to be said about the fact that it has taken a pandemic of such proportions to rally the American people to understand there is only one planet and it is all of our responsibilities to care for it,” said Yanyan Ji, chief marketing officer at ecoATM. “It’s incredible to see from our research though that the nation has already sprung into action and made small changes to their lives that can make a significant and impactful difference.”
“There is no denying mass confusion around recycling remains and the need for further clarity and guidance on what can and can’t be recycled. This raises the question of whose responsibility is it to teach people how to recycle? Our research reveals those living in the West first think it’s the Government’s, followed by companies who focus on sustainability, schools and brands.
1 Research conducted via Google Surveys of 2,014 American adults between April 3 – April 6, 2020.
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