WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Black Friday, and throughout the shopping season, many holiday shoppers will be looking for – and be willing to pay more for – recyclable gifts. According to a recent survey conducted online in November among over 2,000 U.S. adults by Harris Poll on behalf of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), two-thirds (66%) of Americans say they look for information on whether or not the product is made from recycled materials when making a purchase. Furthermore, Americans would be willing to spend 13% more, on average, on a product if it was fully recyclable (i.e., all parts of the item could be recycled), and an average of 10% more for a product if they knew it was made of recycled materials.

"The data shows that design for recycling not only benefits the environment and saves energy, but can increase a company's bottom line," said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. "Consumers look for and are demanding more information about a product's recyclability. Manufacturers that create products with recycling in mind can gain a significant edge over their competitors."

According to the poll, more than one in five (22%) Americans say that when making a purchase, they always or often look for information on whether or not the product was made from recycled materials. A strong majority (86%) of Americans would appreciate it if manufacturers designed products to be easier for consumers who recycle to disassemble in preparation for recycling and more than 4 in 5 (81%) say they would like to see manufacturers and/or retailers display a "Recycling Guide" label on products (similar to the Energy Guide label on appliances) that would detail the parts and percentage of the product that can be recycled and how.

Other findings include:

  • Interestingly, those with a household incomes (HHI) of less than $50k would be willing to pay an average of 16% more for a product if they knew it was easy and convenient to collect and take to a recycling center (or picked up at their home on a curbside program). This average was significantly higher than the average among those with a HHI of $75k+ (10%).
  • Convenience is key as more than 3 in 5 (62%) Americans say that if a product is not easy or convenient to recycle, they probably would not recycle it.
  • More than 2 in 5 (43%) consider the product's materials (what the product is made of and whether or not the product was made from recycled materials) when making a purchasing decision.
  • Just under 1 in 5 (19%) think the product's packaging is important (what the packaging is made of and whether or not the packaging can be recycled/was made from recycled materials) when making a purchasing decision.

The findings support ISRI's efforts advocating for Design for Recycling®. Design for Recycling® is a voluntary program that urges manufacturers to think about the ultimate destiny of their product during the design stage of its development. Such design benefits both the environment and the economy, and shareholders and consumers recognize the benefits of designing a product that will have several lives. The Design for Recycling® Award is ISRI's highest award that is given annually to a manufacturer with the most outstanding contribution to products designed with recycling in mind. The award recognizes the proactive steps made by manufacturers who have actively incorporated Design for Recycling® principles into their products and manufacturing processes.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of ISRI from November 3-5, 2014 among 2,013 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, can be found online.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI)

ISRI is the Voice of the Recycling Industry™. ISRI represents more than 1,600 companies in 21 chapters nationwide that process, broker and industrially consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, ISRI provides safety, education, advocacy, and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development.

Mark Carpenter
(202) 662-8525