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Americans Confess 'Green Guilt' Is Growing

Americans Confess 'Green Guilt' Is Growing Environmental experts define green guilt as the knowledge that you could and should be doing more to help preserve the environment. / Credit: Guilt image via Shutterstock

The number of Americans who admit that they suffer from environmentally related "green guilt" has more than doubled in the past three years, according to a new survey. Environmental experts define green guilt as the knowledge that you could and should be doing more to help preserve the environment. Today it affects nearly one-third (29 percent) of Americans.

More than half of Americans (57 percent) say they have old electronics that they need to dispose of or discard, including cellphones (46 percent), computers (33 percent) and TVs (25 percent), followed by cordless phones (19 percent) and rechargeable batteries, according to a survey of more than 1,000 Americans sponsored by Call2Recycle, a recycling service.

But they have good intentions, the survey found. Eighty-four percent say they have recycled in the past year to help the environment; as well as turned out lights/unplugged rechargers (68 percent); and purchased "green" products (53 percent).

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But Americans say they face barriers to recycling, including not knowing how or where to recycle old technology (44 percent) and a lack of local stores offering a recycling program (19 percent). Other constraints cited include difficulty finding a collection event (16 percent) and lack of municipal recycling options (15 percent). Reasons for not doing more to protect the environment in general include not knowing what to do (32 percent) and not having the time (26 percent).

The survey shows that slightly more American women than men believe that proper product disposal should be shared among manufacturers, retailers, consumers and dedicated recycling programs or organizations.

When asked about extended producer responsibility, more than half (52 percent) of Americans say they believe that manufacturers should bear the cost of recycling their product after consumers are finished with it. But, they're almost equally split about their willingness to pay more for an item if a manufacturer took care of its proper disposal — 38  percent (notably more men than women) say yes, while 39 percent say no.

"We see this as a positive," said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle. "Whether due to the recovering economy or for other reasons, consumers are stimulated to think about the proper disposal of old electronics and conscious of the impact today's actions have on the state of our planet. The 2012 survey shows that Americans increasingly feel an obligation to recycle, and that they share responsibility with manufacturers and others to reduce the environmental impact of many products."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.

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