Why make it even harder with myriad labels, symbols, and instructions? Recycle Across America thinks it should be easier and could give the job sector a boost as well.
The NY Times puts it this way:
So why don’t people recycle more? It’s easy to blame apathy, but often people neglect to do the right thing because they’re confused. Research on behavior change emphasizes the need to make desired behaviors as simple as possible — removing the need to make decisions, so people act reflexively.
That is why one of the most important environmental fixes taking root today is an initiative to standardize recycling labels. It’s only one piece in a complex puzzle, but it’s such a central piece that it seems amazing it’s been overlooked for a generation.
The Times follows up with a graphic of some of the suggested labels and goes on to mention that standardization is a long process. Take the stop sign, for example. The ubiquitous octagonal traffic marker that some people love to ignore was finally standardized in the 1950s, decades after cars had taken to the streets. While there are many other changes that can and should be made to put us on a sustainable path, fixing the confusion over recycling is one place to start. People are creatures of habit. Just look at all the uproar every time Facebook changes the layout of the newsfeed or the resistance when you try to get your boss at work to implement a new idea or different way of doing some task. Same goes for recycling. If you finally become used to throwing out your trash one way at work, but your daughter uses a different sorting method at school, and your municipal trash collectors have yet another way to separate garbage from recyclables at your home, frustration builds up and you have to learn several different methods. Make it standard, easy to understand and implement and people are more likely to participate and continue a behavior that is good for our future.