While more millennials are aware of global warming and support “green” initiatives, millennials low recycling rates sends a different message.
An FKD Feature exclusive

Anyone who has watched the Discovery Channel knows that animal habitats are often polluted with human litter. We love claiming to be green, but troubling new evidence suggests that millennials aren’t recycling any more than other generations. So what exactly is causing the apparent disparity between what we say and what we do?

The Problem

Americans are but a mere five percent of the world’s population, but we produce 27 percent of global garbage. Who can we blame for this bonanza of garbage? Well, we know for a fact that Millennials are complicit.

Though young people are more likely to support companies that go green, millennials themselves do the exact opposite. According to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retaining, 41 percent of millennials admitted to tossing trash outside of car windows, 39 percent admitted to wasting food and a shocking 1 in 4 said they don’t recycle at all.

We’re even bad at the simple stuff like recycling paper and aluminum cans. According to Earth 911, millennials notably lag behind other age groups and don’t engage in “simple green activities.”

A Walking Contradiction

Puzzlingly, millennials report being more concerned about the environment than is evidenced by their actions. The vast majority of us (perhaps not all) are very concerned about climate and the impact it will have on our children.

Millennials are less likely to recycle but are still more likely to buy from companies that “go green” and leave a positive global footprint. Millennials are also more likely to go to schools that support environmental initiatives and choose employers that do the same. It is a curiosity that the Shelton Group, which conducted the study, calls “reverse crowdsourcing.” Why are millennials more inclined to say they support green initiatives, instead of actually practicing their stated green initiatives?  The jury is still out on that question.


It seems as if millennials want to see change but don’t want to be part of the solution. In other words, millennials are not becoming the change that they want to see in their lives, at least when it comes to environmental issues. The apparent disconnect between what millennials want to happen, versus what they are actually doing, sets a dismal prospect for the environment for generations in the future.

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Header image: Adobe Stock


Posted 11.23.2017 - 12:00 pm EST