Most Americans Think Recycling Can Help Save The Planet — Most Experts Think That’s A Total Myth

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Nick Pope Contributor
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While most Americans think that recycling can make a difference to counter climate change, experts say that the practice does very little toward that end, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Six in ten Americans think that recycling can meaningfully reduce the impacts of climate change, but experts assert that recycling is not a real solution, instead advocating for Americans to fly less frequently and substantially reduce the amount of meat and dairy they consume, according to the Post and its July polling with the University of Maryland. Other behaviors that many Americans believe will counter climate change, like getting an electric stove and driving slower, will not make much of a difference against climate change, experts posit.

Installing solar panels is the one identified aspect of personal behavior that experts and polled respondents agree is useful for countering climate change.(RELATED: The War On Plastic Waste Could Massively Increase CO2 Emissions: REPORT)

Overall, Americans have grown less confident that their individual actions can meaningfully counter climate change, according to the Post and its polling. Expert advocates of sweeping climate action say that reducing meat and dairy consumption and flying less frequently are more effective ways for individuals to combat climate change, but less than half of Americans think that any of those changes in preference will make much of a difference.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promotes recycling as an effective means to reduce emissions, but other experts now sing a different tune. Recycling’s effects are vastly overestimated, with one study from the University of Leeds placing recycling as the second-least effective means of reducing emissions on a list of 50 actions, according to the Post.

“Ninety percent of the world doesn’t need to reduce their emissions, but most readers of The Washington Post probably do,” Kimberly Nicholas, sustainability scientist for Sweden’s Lund University, said, according to the Post.

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