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Monday, March 31, 2008

Yahoo! Survey of Consumers for Earth Day

Yahoo! recently completed a survey of U.S. consumers to find out how they plan to celebrate Earth Day, what environmental issues are top of mind, and how much recycling and reusing are a part of daily life. The answers may surprise you – more than half of all those surveyed didn’t even know that April 22nd was Earth Day.


Consumer knowledge of key ‘environmental terms”
The word global warming, reuse and carbon neutral can mean many things to many individuals. Most Americans claim to know how to define global warming and understand the concept of reuse. However, only a third of all Americans can define the word carbon neutral.

Impacting The Environment
Consumers believe that reuse, recycling and curbing car use is the most effective way to positively impact the environment. However, education about global warming is still needed as less than half believe that Global warming is bad for their personal health, and only one in ten believe that eating meat might be bad for the environment.
Interestingly enough, only ½ of all consumers believe that their individual contribution has any impact on the earth as a whole.

Thinking And Action
63% of consumers recycle and 57% reuse products every chance they get. Many are also using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs around the home. However, apart from recycling, consumers are significantly less likely to give up red meat, take public transportation, carpool and even buy environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.
Boomers have an elevated sense of urgency when it comes to the environment. They feel significantly more positive about their individual contribution maybe because of their elevated belief that global warming will impact them in their lifetime. That train of thought and thinking leads significantly greater action in recycling, reuse, and green clean product buying. This thinking translates into advocacy, as a quarter will convince friends to buy eco-friendly products when they ask my opinion on purchases.
However, not even they are more likely to take more public transportation, carpool or abstain from meat.
Even with all these initiatives around the environment, nearly half believe Global Warming won’t impact their generation or lifetime and 1/5 believe it is a sensationalized story by the media.

Recycling and reusing, why not?
Among those who don’t recycle, the biggest reason is difficulty where they live, simply forgetting and not knowing where to go to recycle. Nearly 4 in 10 don’t know why they don’t reuse more. Lack of knowledge is the biggest barrier to reusing different products.
The biggest driver to product reuse is cost savings which is at parity with the positive environmental impact. A functional cost savings message tied with the positive impact on environment may most appeal when talking about reuse to consumers.
One very positive outcome is that nearly 90% of Americans would consider product reuse products if more education was done on the matter. In fact, a third of Boomers are ready to make a change to reuse products every chance they get if provided with the right information.
39% of all consumers will pay a little extra for environmentally friendly products

Earth Day
More than half didn’t know that April 22 is Earth Day. 44% of all consumers have no plans to do anything during Earth Day. However, among those who do know about earth day, almost seven in ten will participate in an earth day event. Most will participate in recycling or tree planting. A quarter will participate in an earth day event.

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