Three in ten unaware about the environmental impact
TORONTO, Sept. 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontarians are avid recyclers, but according to new research findings from Stewardship Ontario, proper disposal of batteries isn't top of mind for many households. In fact, more than a third of Ontarians (35 per cent) say they typically dispose of batteries by throwing them in the garbage or including them in their blue box, where batteries aren't accepted. And even those who normally do the right thing occasionally toss out a battery. One in three (33 per cent) admit they've thrown out a battery in the garbage in the past year.
"It could be that you are hanging on to your batteries because you don't know what to do with them, or simply putting them in the garbage with regular household waste because you don't think only one battery matters," said Paul Gerard, spokesman for Stewardship Ontario, the private not-for-profit company that runs the Orange Drop program. "We want to change bad habits, encourage Ontarians to make battery recycling a positive habit and use our convenient collection network. Some batteries contain materials that are harmful to our environment if disposed of incorrectly, and it's everyone's responsibility to ensure that doesn't happen."
What's Stopping Us?
Nearly half (47 per cent) of those who throw batteries in the household trash say they do not know where to bring them, while four in ten (39 per cent) were unaware batteries should not be thrown out. Interestingly, two in ten (23 per cent) say they don't use enough batteries for proper disposal to matter.
Based on research, Stewardship Ontario has segmented the population in regard to their battery disposal habits.
The "Unaware" group is more likely to be young adults (under the age of 34) and make up 28 per cent of the population. They buy few batteries and are essentially unaware of the proper recycling procedures. This segment is the most likely to throw their batteries into the regular garbage.
Members of "Only if it's Easy" (19 per cent of Ontarians) use an above average number of batteries, and while they are generally aware of the proper procedures for disposal they do not always follow through due to a perceived lack of convenience.
"Where, Why and How" Ontarians (15 per cent of the population) support household recycling but are unaware of the proper procedures for disposal of used batteries.
Of those who throw their batteries into the regular trash, nearly all (95 per cent) said they would be somewhat likely to change their ways if it was easier for them to recycle. Approximately four in ten (38 per cent) of the population are already members of the "On Board" group.
Are You a Hoarder?
But it's clear that junk drawers across the province are also seeing their fair share of used batteries. The survey reveals that the average household has 15 used batteries that are earmarked for recycling - but haven't made it past the front door yet.
Ontarians who correctly take their batteries for disposal are three times as likely to save up a number of batteries and dispose of them all at once, rather than dispose of their batteries as they are replaced (76 versus 24 per cent).
Other Survey Highlights
- Nearly half (46 per cent) of respondents said that there should be fines imposed for not recycling, or that it should depend on circumstances, such as the type of material, the amount and the frequency of offenses.
- Households in Ontario on average have 12.6 products or appliances that need batteries. Given that there are 4.8 million households in Ontario, that's more than 60 million batteries that could be recycled.11
- Consumer technologies such as remote controls and cameras are the largest users of batteries, followed by safety devices, such as smoke detectors, and household appliances. And while parents may attest to the fact that Wii and remote control cars tend to eat up batteries the fastest, gaming devices and toys ranked lower on the reasons for a battery purchase.
"It's clear that batteries are powering all aspects of our lives," said Gerard. "Ontarians can help turn a negative into a positive by ensuring they are recycling each of their single-use batteries."
Battery Myths Busted
- Myth: Someone sorts out batteries and other potentially harmful wastes from my garbage.
- Fact: Garbage is not sorted - whatever is thrown out goes directly to landfills. The correct method is to collect and recycle primary batteries by dropping them off at a collection site.
- Myth: Once a battery dies, it has no other use.
- Fact: Used batteries still have life. Properly recycled batteries have valuable resources that can be recovered and used as new ingredients producing new goods. In fact, it is much more efficient to recycle a metal than mine it from the ground. At Stewardship Ontario, over 86 per cent of a single-primary use battery is recovered as new raw materials.
- Myth: Recycling batteries is not convenient.
- Fact: There are more than 2,000 battery collection sites established throughout Ontario, consisting of municipal depots, special collection events and a network of retail stores, libraries, community centres, schools and other easily accessible drop-off points for consumers. Visit Makethedrop.ca to find the nearest drop-off centre to you simply by entering your postal code.
About the Research
This survey was conducted by the Environics Research Group. The results are based on an online survey conducted with 1,000 adult Ontarians between August 1-7, 2012. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in the online panel rather than a probability sample, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. Environics makes every effort possible to ensure that our online samples are of the highest quality and representative of the population being studied. This method of research is approved by the Market Research Intelligence Association (MRIA).
About Stewardship Ontario
Stewardship Ontario is an independent, industry-funded organization mandated under the Waste Diversion Act. The organization reports to a board of directors made up of representatives from the retail and consumer products industry.
Stewardship Ontario manages two waste diversion programs in Ontario - the blue box program, which provides municipalities with funding to support the residential recycling of paper and packaging; and the Orange Drop program, which manages the collection and recovery of hazardous and special waste materials through municipal and commercial locations.
SOURCE: Stewardship Ontario
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