Survey: Millenials Less Likely to Recycle, But More Likely to Buy From Companies that Go Green

Green Your Halloween

Snappy Salads' E-waste Recycling Round-Up

Recycling Gone Wrong: Weird Things Found in the Bin

5 Tips for Traveling in an Eco-Friendly Way

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Survey: Millenials Less Likely to Recycle, But More Likely to Buy From Companies that Go Green

Millennials are less likely to recycle than other generations, but more likely to buy from companies making a positive impact on the world, a new survey finds.

The reason, according to the new survey and report from The Shelton Group: Millennials believe corporations have more power to solve global problems than individuals.

“Millennials are pushing companies to make a positive impact on the world because they believe global problems are too big for individuals to solve,” said Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO of The Shelton Group, a marketing and research firm focused on energy and the environment. “Millennials will reward corporations that take action and address problems for them.”

Shelton calls it “reverse crowdsourcing.”

“Millennials see corporations as having the power of many -- the ultimate crowd,” Shelton said. “Millennials see spending money with these companies as another form of activism. It’s crowdsourcing by consumerism.”

“Companies now have the opportunity to help Millennials do what they think they can’t do for themselves,” Shelton added. “It truly is reverse crowdsourcing.”

The report found that most Millennials aren’t particularly concerned about certain sustainable habits.  Asked, “Which, if any, of the following habits would you be embarrassed about if people found you had or didn’t have them?”

  • 41 percent said tossing trash out the car window 

  • 39 percent said wasting food 

  • 28 percent said wasting water

  • 25 percent said not recycling things 

  • 18 percent said leaving the lights on when I leave a room 

Shelton Group’s 2016 EcoPulse study found that Millennials fall behind others when it comes to the more easier green activities: Only 33 percent of Millennials say they adjust the thermostat to save energy (vs. 48 percent of all Americans) and just 34 percent recycled paper and aluminum cans (vs. 46 percent overall).

But that doesn’t mean Millennials don’t care about the environment. In fact, they worry more about climate change than other Americans.

The survey found 76 percent of Millennials say they are “somewhat to extremely concerned about the impact climate change will have on their quality of life during their lifetimes.” And 82 percent say they’re worried about the impact of climate change on their children’s quality of life.

By comparison, in the EnergyPulse survey, only 51 percent of the general population said they were anxious about climate change.

Millennials’ concerns about the environment play a major part in their purchasing decisions. Asked, “How much impact, if any, does the following have on your decision to purchase its products?,” 70 percent of Millennials selected a company’s environmental practices.

“Clearly, Millennials are concerned about the environment, but many feel the problems are too big for them to tackle as individuals,” Shelton said. “So they’re looking to corporations to take action.”

Asked, “Why do a company’s environmental or social/business practices impact your purchase decisions?” Almost 60 percent of Millennials said either:

 “I prefer to purchase from companies addressing problems I feel that I can do little to address on my own."  Or ...  “Environmentally/socially responsible companies take care of these things for me (which frees me up to focus on other things).”

Said Shelton: “That gives companies a real opportunity: Help the planet, help your business."

The survey also found 81 percent of Millennials say they seek information about a company’s environmental or social/business practices while making a purchase decision, at least occasionally.

“Millennials are watching and listening carefully,” Shelton said. “Companies really have to practice what they preach. Just saying you’re committed to an issue isn’t enough. You actually have to do something meaningful. And if you do, Millennials will reward you.”

The Millennial Pulse questionnaire was designed by Shelton Group and fielded in June 2017. Shelton Group surveyed a total of 1,000 Millennial respondents. The survey sample was stratified to mirror the U.S. Millennial distribution, using quotas for geography, age, gender, education and race; data were weighted slightly to match U.S. Millennial population distributions. Margin of error is +/- 3.1%.


Green Your Halloween

Scarier than a goblin or a toddler with a sugar high is the amount of waste that is produced during the holiday season. Celebrating Halloween does not have to break the bank or be celebrated at the expense of our beloved planet. Those looking to have some eco-friendly fun this Halloween will take delight in this top-ten list

Top 10 Ways to Green Your Halloween

  • Schedule a costume swap night-bring costumes and accessories your kids have outgrown and trade with other parents.

  • Replace traditional paper party invitations with online invites.

  • Make your own costumes by reusing items found around the home, at local thrift stores, or at yard sales.

  • Walk the streets of your neighborhood, don't drive! The exercise is heart-healthy and eco-friendly.

  • Avoid the plastic trick or treat bags-try decorating an old pillowcase, a tote bag, or a recycled shopping tote.

  • Treat the kids to organic and fair-trade goodies.

  • Shop for locally grown holiday treats and decorations-apples, pumpkin, gourds.

  • Find alternatives to candy treats-try soy crayons or packets of seeds that can be planted in the spring.

  • Fill your flashlight with rechargeable batteries instead of conventional batteries.

  • Host a pumpkin pie bakeoff in your town-a great way to use the post-halloween pumpkins.


Snappy Salads' E-waste Recycling Round-Up

When Snappy Salads opened in 2006, it became the first eco-friendly restaurant in Dallas and set a precedent for the restaurant industry by voluntarily committing to limiting the negative impact it would have on the environment. This ethos reaches every corner of Snappy Salads as evidenced by furniture made with salvaged wood, countertops made from recycled materials, energy-efficient lighting, biodegradable cups and utensils, and food from sources that utilize sustainable growing methods. 

However, it is Snappy Salads’ E-waste Recycling Round-Up that has had the biggest impact. The first Round-Up in 2013 collected more than two tons of e-waste (electronic waste). It was such a success that Snappy Salads now hosts two Round-ups every year at all locations. The October 2017 event is expected to bring the total e-waste collected so far to more than 50 tons!

“It’s our mission to leave this world healthier than the way we found it. We accomplish this by providing our guests with healthy dining alternatives, but we’re also taking another step and helping divert toxic waste from entering our food and water supply,” said Chris Dahlander, CEO of Snappy Salads.  “We’re proud to offer this benefit free to our guests.”

E-waste consists of unwanted smartphones, televisions, radios, computers, printers and other electronic products such as microwaves, fans, toasters, and lamps. Most of these items are made up of recyclable materials, but can lead to serious environmental damage if incinerated or placed in landfills.

“As e-waste continues to spiral out of control, it’s essential for consumers to take note and begin to comprehend the environmental effects,” said Dahlander. “Many of us buy new products without giving a thought to what happens to the old ones. This is a growing worldwide problem.”

Obsolete electronic devices are rapidly filling landfills. In the U.S., more than 100 million computers are thrown away annually with less than 20% being recycled properly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 4 million tons of e-waste are disposed in landfills every year, and this e-waste contains toxic and non-biodegradable substances such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. When e-waste is disposed in landfills, these toxic substances contaminate our water and soil.

The dismantling and recycling of electronic products promotes the conservation of natural resources and minimizes the air and water pollution that is common in the disposal and landfilling of e-waste. 

“In the end, it is our responsibility to ensure that our old products get recycled properly and do not end up causing more harm than good,” said Dahlander. “Through our twice-yearly round-up, this potentially toxic junk will not sit in landfills, but will be repurposed into a new life.”

Snappy Salads hosts e-waste recycling events twice a year free of charge at all 15 locations. The last event collected nearly 10 tons of e-waste. Snappy Salads relies on the expertise of Recycle Revolution to coordinate the proper recycling of collected items and to ensure that all items are sent to facilities in the United States.

E-Waste Tips

One in, two out. While a lot of e-waste ends up in landfills, a lot gets stashed in cupboards, garages, spare rooms and shelves. For every new piece of technology you welcome into your home commit to recycling two unwanted pieces. Take items back to the store. Many have buy-back or trade-in programs.

Packaging pollutes. Thoughtfully dispose of the cardboard box and any plastic packaging that comes with your new purchase or that you’ve kept from your old one.

Mark your calendar. Circle a month, maybe twice a year, in your family calendar that you’ll round up and dispose of all your household e-waste. Check with businesses like Snappy Salads to determine when recycling events will be held.

Organize. Organize what you have to prevent duplicate purchases.

Pass it on. Donate items to local non-profit organizations for a tax deduction or give your used electronics to friends or family.

Other tips. Live in the cloud. There’s no need to buy serves for storage when you can use Dropbox.  Shop for greener products. Before making a purchase, check out whether companies offer products that are energy efficient. Instead of dumping your old TV into the garbage bin, call the vendor and ask where to present the item for refurbishing.

Recycling Gone Wrong: Weird Things Found in the Bin, the UK's waste management agency, compiled a list of the most bizarre and problematic recycling people have tried to do at home, after surveying the public about their recycling gone wrong.

After collecting information from people up and down the country, it seems “we’re a nation of very baffled binners” if the confessions made to are anything to go by. People admitted to having tried to recycle their dead pets, not through tasteful taxidermy but in their recycling bins.

One respondent recalled trying to recycle a full Christmas dinner for a family of eight, saying: “We had a huge row – as is traditional at Christmas – and when everyone was screaming at each other I just threw the whole dinner into the recycling bin, including the crackers, plates and party hats”.

Another respondent said they tried to put their car door in the metal recycling, saying: “I figured it was basically just a huge tin can, but the bin men didn’t really see it that way and I got an earful about taking it to the scrap yard instead.”

And while one respondent didn’t claim responsibility for it themselves, they did claim they saw a blow-up doll in their recycling, saying: “I’m going to put it down to my housemate having a big night out, but I definitely saw a blow-up doll’s head poking out of the bin still fully inflated and staring at me. I was quite hungover myself at the time and it scared me half to death.”

Mark Hall spokesperson for said: “We surveyed over 3000 people from all walks of life and amazing over 80% of people said they’re confused about what to recycle in their home bins, with 99% of people admitting to having made a mistake with their recycling in the past”.

“Bearing that in mind, it’s no surprise we’ve found some of these strange stories where people know they should dispose of something, but don’t know whether it counts as recycling or not”.

“While we admire people’s efforts to help save the planet, it’s obviously important to only recycle the appropriate things in the right places, otherwise you can cause more problems than you solve for the people processing waste at the other end.” advises people to ask their local council for clear instructions on what to put in which bin, and to keep them on display at all times, saying: “We know that 75% of all recycling mistakes could be solved by having the information clearly visible, and anything that’s not mentioned we’d advise people to put in their general waste or take to the tip”.

5 Tips for Traveling in an Eco-Friendly Way

Living an environmentally conscious lifestyle can be easy enough from day to day, but it can become a bit more challenging when you're traveling. Whether you're backpacking for months on end or taking a quick weekend trip, it's all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new place and forget to take care of the environment.

At the recently held series of talks and discussions by cause-oriented community MUNI, Dave Albao, who manages protected marine sanctuary Danjugan Island, and eco-friendly traveler Jen Horn shared some tips people can practice while traveling:

1. Do not disturb the wildlife!
When snorkeling, swimming in the ocean, or trekking, for instance, it is important to minimize noise and movements, and be careful about disturbing what may be the natural habitat of wildlife.

"We don't want people to come here out of convenience," Dave said of Danjugan Island, which is a protected 1.5-kilometer-long island that is home to thriving marine and terrestrial wildlife. "When people come here, they need to adjust, they need to respect, and the first thing they have to adjust to is the wildlife."

Dave said people need to adjust their attitudes towards travel and stop expecting a destination to adjust to them.

"If we travel, we should prepare ourselves to immerse oneself in the area," he said.

2. Quit straws, stirrers, and other single-use plastics.
Straws, stirrers, and single-use plastics are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to water pollution. What makes them especially frustrating is that they're used only once and thrown away – but take forever to degrade.

Whether you're traveling or staying home, this is a number one rule for going zero waste, but it can be especially difficult to follow when you're going on a trip and need to bring travel-sized versions of everything. For toiletries, instead of bringing shampoo and soap sachets, buy small reusable containers and refill from your container at home. Having a metal or bamboo straw with you at all times, or refusing straws altogether, is another habit to practice. Switching from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo toothbrush also helps.

3. Resist the temptation to max out your accommodations.
It's time to quit trying to "get your money's worth" by hoarding all the free toiletries and keeping the air-conditioning running all day. If you're staying in a hotel, switch off all the lights and appliances, as you would do when you're saving on electricity at home. Also, be sure to tell the hotel staff not to replace your towels or change your sheets until you absolutely have to.
"We feel so entitled because we paid for a service and we want to max out what we paid for, but the cost of that is not just to the hotel, but to the community and environment as well," Jen said.

4. Bring your trash home.
If you absolutely cannot avoid producing trash, make sure you take it with you when you leave the place, especially if your destination doesn't seem to have a proper waste facility.

"If you think you're throwing your trash in the proper bin at the hotel, think twice because they will still likely end up in the landfill," Jen said. She also reminded smokers to mind their cigarette butts, because these are not biodegradable and are full of harmful chemicals that can pollute water.

Smokers can bring around a portable ashtray with them, or throw their cigarette butts in a used plastic bottle, which, when stuffed, can then be turned into an ecobrick for low-cost builds. (WATCH: How to repurpose plastic bottles into ecobricks)

5. Choose your souvenirs wisely.
While it is important to support the local community, Jen and Dave said travelers should be conscious of the souvenirs that they buy because not all of them are environmentally friendly. For instance, those small accessories with shell inlays are not the most eco-friendly souvenir to bring home. Getting zero-waste items such as fruits or local dishes are a much better choice, though it is important to bring a reusable souvenir so you can avoid packaging waste.

By keeping these 5 habits in mind, you can make sure that your next trip isn't just good for your soul or sanity, but also for the environment.