2024 National Research Findings

Consumers Need Ongoing Recycling Education

The Carton Council’s latest biennial national survey revealed that consumers need more recycling education. This year’s results showed a slight decline in confidence that mainstream materials can be recycled and that recycling is still important.

The Greatest Barrier to Recycling is Uncertainty

The survey also revealed small percentage drops across all commodities in consumers reporting they are confident that materials are accepted in their recycling programs. This same trend is evident when they report if they always recycle those items.

  • High numbers of respondents (92%) say they still support recycling
  • But those who marked recycling as “important and a priority” decreased by 6 percentage points to 70%
  • The perception of it being "somewhat important" increased by 3 percentage points to 22%

This suggests recycling remains a priority, albeit a less pressing one. The greatest barrier to recycling remains uncertainty about what materials can be recycled in local programs.

Product packaging and community websites remain the top two sources consumers consult to determine a package’s recyclability. This underscores the importance of providing accurate and accessible on-pack recycling instructions, as well as maintaining up-to-date local websites for those running recycling programs.

Learn More

Below you can find more information about the 2024 national research findings.