October 2005

New survey findings reveal barriers to curbside recycling

Kansas City, MO— The city of Kansas City, Missouri and the Aluminum Can Council (ACC), a coalition formed by the Aluminum Association and Can Manufacturer’s Institute, have conducted a first-of-its-kind survey among residents in the city’s “urban core.” The goal of the research was to gather input about issues related to the city’s curbside recycling program, KC Recycles, and to identify common patterns among inner city residents in regards to curbside recycling.

Key findings indicate that the main reasons the city’s urban core residents do not recycle are because they do not have a recycling bin, do not think recycling is necessary, and do not know enough about the city’s recycling program. The research shows that 90 percent of urban residents in the city’s lowest area of participation believe it is important to recycle. And, residents are more likely to recycle if: they are given incentives, there is an increased frequency of recycling pickups, they have access to recycling bins, and are provided with information about the recycling program through direct mailings, local newspapers and commercial TV.

Kansas City is a member of the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP) a national program lead by the aluminum industry to combat declining recycling rates in curbside programs. As part of the partnership, the industry has been working closely with KC Recycles staff to identify solutions to turn the tide in declining participation rates among the urban and ethnic communities.

Some of the compelling statistics gathered from the “urban core” survey state that:

•45 percent report that aluminum cans are more important to recycle.
•66 percent said they would recycle aluminum cans if they knew they were more valuable and recyclable than other materials.
•69 percent have a recycling bin for the city’s current curbside program.
•79 percent do some recycling.
•65 percent say they recycle their cans, but only 44 percent at curbside.
•33 percent say they are “very familiar” with the KC Recycles program.

The survey was conducted in July among the city’s “urban core” zip codes. The survey was administered by phone to a random sample of 411 residents, and the results have a precision of at least +/- 4.9 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

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