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DS Smith Surveys: Young Consumers Least Confident About Recycling
Publish date: 2022-08-30


While Gen Z members often are considered to be the most environmentally conscious, they have the least confidence among all age groups in knowing how to recycle, based on the packaging leader’s new survey in the UK that matches a similar company poll in the United States.

In the latest UK poll, two thirds of Gen Z respondents (those born from 1997 to 2012) blame barriers to recycling, including confusion over what items can be recycled, a shortage of recycling bins and lack of clear disposal instructions on products. Only 41% of those over age 55 see such obstacles.

Also, twice as many in the Gen Z group compared to their older counterparts say they don’t know where to find advice on recycling.

The findings indicate that the generational split on sustainability is international.

A DS Smith survey in the U.S., released in May 2021, found that Baby Boomers – the generation that came of age amid the first Earth Day in 1970 – are the most motivated to recycle those leftover boxes.

Broken out by generation, Baby Boomers (71%) hold themselves more accountable for responsibly recycling their boxes than others - millennials (60%), Gen Z (59%) and Gen X (58%).

“To encourage all generations to play their part in helping the environment, we have to remove the barriers that keep them from doing so,” said Keith Tornes, managing director of Paper, Forestry and Recycling for DS Smith North America. “That’s why at DS Smith, we have publicly supported local initiatives to improve recycling infrastructure and increased awareness to help consumers understand how and what to recycle.” 

The U.S. survey found that all groups were united when asked about the surplus of boxes from e-commerce spending and the message was clear: They’re not bothered by the extra packages but do want them made of sustainable materials.


Source: Packaging Strategies

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