KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Ninety percent of Tennesseans say they think recycling is important, a University of Tennessee survey shows.
Dr. Rosalyn McKeown-Ice and Catherine Wilt, of UT-Knoxville’s Waste Management Research and Education Institute, polled 811 households and found 48 percent of respondents said recycling is very important and 42 percent said somewhat important.
“Tennesseans are trying to do their part to lessen the state’s garbage problems by recycling, ‘green shopping’ practices, and generally disposing of their trash properly,” McKeown-Ice said. “The daily behavior of individuals makes a big difference in reducing solid waste problems in communities across the state.”
The survey also found about half of Tennessee households:
— Separate household hazardous waste, such as dead batteries, waste oil and cleaners, from regular trash and dispose of it properly.
— Knew of the state’s 1995 goal, which it has failed to meet, to reduce by 25 percent the 5.1 million tons of solid waste it produces yearly.
— Compost yard and kitchen waste.
About 70 percent of Tennesseans surveyed said they participated in some sort of recycling, up from 40 percent polled in 1989.
McKeown-Ice said the public education has helped increase recycling, but further gains may have to come from source reduction.
“We’ve had great results from our efforts to educate the public about recycling, but I’m not sure we can get additional gains in recycling participation,” McKeown-Ice said. “It may be time to focus on other aspects of solid waste disposal, such as source reduction, to make the most progress in reaching solid waste goals.”
Contact: Dr. Rosalyn McKeown-Ice (423-974-1880)