58% support mandatory recycling programs

June 30, 2014, 11:35 AM GMT+0

Most Americans, including both Democrats and Republicans, would support mandatory curbside recycling programs

Recycling is becoming an increasingly common part of everyday life for Americans. Even though the US still lags behind most of the developed world in terms of how much waste is recycled instead of buried in a landfill, we are quickly catching up. Most major American cities now have mandatory recycling schemes, which make it illegal not to separate recyclable materials from trash for pick-up. Other cities are going even further and encouraging residents to separate food waste for compost, and in San Francisco you can be fined for not leaving food waste in a separate bin for compost.

The latest research from YouGov shows that mandatory curbside recycling is popular with most Americans. 58% of the country supports it, while only 23% oppose it. Democrats are overwhelmingly supportive (76%) rather than opposed (13%) to a mandatory program, but even most Republicans (53%) would support making it illegal not to recycle if there was curbside collection in your neighborhood. Currently, only 14% of Americans live in communities where recycling is mandatory.

Most Americans (61%) say that they currently have access to curbside recycling programs, but access differs widely across the country. 71% of people in the West have curbside collection, compared to only 52% in the South. The biggest differences, though, aren't by region but by income. The poorer you are, the less likely you are to have curbside collection, with only 48% of people in households earning less than $40,000 enjoying this, compared to 64% of people with household incomes $40-80,000 a year and 81% of people with incomes over $100,000 a year.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty