At FPI, we want more foodservice
packaging to be recycled. But, as we start to work with communities to get them
to add foodservice packaging to their residential recycling programs, we still
weren’t sure what terminology, instructions and images would most effectively
increase recycling. Time for a survey!
Our web-based survey was
designed to learn where residents get recycling information and the impact of
language on recycling behavior. We tried to re-create the moment a resident
decides to recycle an item; we showed photos of cups, containers, boxes and
bags to find out how the language on foodservice packaging materials impacts
The survey was completed by
1,000 U.S. homeowners, split pretty evenly between male and female respondents.
Some of the key takeaways from the survey included the importance of using:
- common language instead of
industry jargon when describing recycling materials (e.g., while we like to
refer to a specific type of container as a "clamshell container," the general
public responds better to "plastic container");
- clear, easy to understand
words when giving instructions, such as "empty" and "clean;" and
- visuals that are grouped by
materials to emphasize acceptable recycling practices.
We also learned that over
half of respondents said a city, county or recycling company's website was the
most popular source for seeking recycling information. While respondents age 18
to 34 also preferred the website, they listed social media as their second
choice for gathering information.
While some of this
information might seem like common sense, it's really important to us. As more
communities consider adding foodservice packaging to their recycling programs,
we want – and need – to be able to provide valuable guidance on messaging for
recycling coordinators and residents. It’s a unique opportunity to create
messaging consistency and help pave the way for correct recycling of
foodservice packaging items.
To learn more about this
study and best practices for recycling, you can check out our webinar with Keep
America Beautiful and The Recycling Partnership at RecycleFSP.org.
Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 11/29/2016 2:57:10 PM