Hoarding plastic? Most Americans keep bags and containers instead of throwing them out

NEW YORK — If you feel like you’re hoarding plastic containers in your home, you’re not alone. A new study reveals 62 percent of Americans are plastic hoarders.

The study asked 2,000 people about their plastic habits and what they want to improve on – notably getting rid of plastic after holding onto it for too long.

Plastic HabitsWith plastic waste being such a preventable problem, it’s no surprise that over half the poll (55%) say they’d rather keep plastic containers and other plastic wares that they know they won’t use again, rather than throw them away.

Some of these items plaguing American homes include the classic bag of plastic bags (49%), an entire drawer of plastic cutlery (44%), a cabinet of mismatched plastic containers (39%), and a cabinet of old plastic jars (18%).

Perplexed by plastics

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Core Hydration, researchers also find that 55 percent don’t want to throw out plastics in their home without reusing them first. Sixty-four percent of respondents add they’ll never need to buy a matching plastic container set because they have plenty of others still hanging around in their kitchens.

Half of Americans also want to reduce their waste but feel too overwhelmed to start. In fact, respondents ask themselves “can this be recycled?” an average of four times a week. The average person also ends up tossing another four items in the recycling bin that they’re not even absolutely certain if it belongs there.

With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder 61 percent of respondents feel like no matter how much they recycle, it’s not enough to make an impact.

“It’s common to feel that you might not be making a difference by recycling, but it’s important to remember you are,” says a spokesperson for Core Hydration in a statement. “Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and even saves energy as making a product from recycled plastic takes less energy than making one from virgin or new plastic. So, toss an empty bottle with its cap on into your recycling bin, and it might end up becoming a new recycled plastic product.”

Recycling innovations

Plastic HabitsPerhaps because of this recycling limbo, three in five respondents always try to make a conscious effort to repurpose or upcycle items. Some of the most unique ways respondents have repurposed something in their homes ranged from art to storage solutions.

One respondent shared they’re growing garlic in cut-off water bottles and another respondent uses plastic containers as potters for plants. Fifty-nine percent of respondents feel better about their waste habits when they purchase something made from recycled materials.

Other Americans say they’d be willing to pay up to 29 percent more than the retail price of an item if they knew it was made from recycled materials.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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