Do you ever feel like you aren’t doing your part when it comes to recycling? Does it bother you when you catch yourself throwing out items instead of recycling? If so, you may be experiencing a new form of remorse known as “Green Guilt”. While this isn’t a technical name, the term is loosely being applied to situations where people have some form of guilt related to saving or helping the environment. Even more interesting is the fact that it’s apparently on the rise, according to a recent study by Call2Recycle, a recycling non-profit organization.
Results of the survey revealed that so called “green guilt” was at 12% in 2009, and is now at 29% for 2012. So what caused the number to double? I’m guessing that it was related to the following factors:
- Increased media coverage – The green movement and eco-friendly approach is now recievingin prime time media coverage, which increases the overall awareness.
- Easy access to recycling location – 10 years ago, no one was actively recycling paper or many other materials in my area or region. Now, curbside recycling is available. The constant reminder through curbside recycling is undoubtedly playing a role in the guilt increase.
- Recycling is catching on – As more and more people recycle, their neighbors, friends, and co-workers see this behavior and are usually forced to assess their own ideas and views on recycling. In many cases, the “herd” mentality takes over and people want to fit in so they begin recycling as well.
“We see this as a positive. 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,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle.
How can you reduce your own green guilt?
Start by participating in available recycling programs in your area. If you aren’t sure what’s in your area, visit earth911.com as they have the largest listing of recycling programs by state, city, or region. You don’t need to go crazy, just start small and then work your way up. Your actions will inevitably lead to another person adopting a more eco-friendly habit.
Second, spread the word where you can. Now, I’m not advocating that you set-up a stand and begin “preaching” on the corner, but I am suggesting that you lead by example and try to educate people on the topic.