Most Americans want less wasteful packaging in stores, and about a third are willing to pay a dime per dollar extra for such items, an Associated Press poll found.
Reducing landfill-choking waste is one of the issues environmentalists hope to publicize in weekend activities leading up to Earth Day on Monday.Industry spokesmen say they already have gotten the message and are making packages with materials that are reusable, recyclable, less wasteful or safer for the environment.
About two-thirds in the AP poll said they have bought such items in the past year. Only one in 10 wouldn't prefer such packaging if he had a choice. Excluding those people, 39 percent of the rest say they would choose the less wasteful package even if it cost 10 percent more.
The telephone survey of 1,001 adults was taken Friday through Tuesday by ICR Survey Research Group of Media, Pa. Results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The poll found a majority of people say they recycle: 58 percent say they recycle cans regularly, but that drops off to 42 percent for newspapers and 36 percent for bottles.
"Aluminum cans have a high value because the material is worth more," said John Ruston, economic analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund in New York City.
An additional one in seven said they recycle each item occasionally. That leaves the population of hard-core non-recyclers at 50 percent for bottles, 43 percent for newspapers and 25 percent for cans.
About 70 percent said their community does not require any sort of effort to separate and recycle items such as cans and newspapers. Of those people, six of seven said they would support such a requirement.
"That shows pretty impressive support - really demand from citizens that they get recycling services," Ruston said.
But the finding means only that people support a recycling requirement in principle. Whether they would cooperate with a specific plan that requires them to sort their garbage and haul bundles to curbside is another matter.