1. It is SO interesting that we are recycling less but care more about sustainability. That seems like such a contradiction in my mind. Having spent my M.A. years in the Faculty of Environment, I was exposed first hand to all kinds of research about how humans are destroying the planet (which I am forever grateful for).

  2. Ugh, the not recycling thing gets me too. (Of course, not buying in the first place is best, but baby steps). My dad, who works in water resource management, never recycles. I asked why a hundred times in high school/college, and he says “It doesn’t make a difference really”. #facepalm. But the good stats are sort of hopeful. I hate to say it, but a few rough years of the market tend to bring out better habits in people… from saving more, to acting more frugally in general, less food waste and “stuff” buying, and caring more for your family and community. Wish we could tap into that without job losses and poverty and foreclosures…

  3. Rebecca

    To answer your question, yes. I spent most of my high school years watching gobs of movies. My best friend rented “The Changeling” and we too, were having pizza – there was one point in the film that both of us screamed and knocked the couch over backwards – flipping us over with it – pizza flying, the works. Her dad came running downstairs to check on us… we were laughing so hard we couldn’t move. We might have been in a little bit of trouble…. the statistics are fascinating and contradict in some areas. LOVE statistics. I have to admit, I cracked up laughing to hear Millennials “want” to be millionaires… um… who doesn’t? I could comment more, especially having hired many of them… but I wont. I think you and others have opened a lot of eyes to a new way of looking at things and in prioritizing what you really want out of your life. This is a game changer – and makes me hopeful for the future.

    • Yay! I’m glad you’re feeling hopeful. I also thought it was weird the some people surveyed didn’t want to be millionaires? My hope it they are holding out for billionaire status.

    • I was wondering if maybe some people’s skepticism about how much of that actually gets recycled is a factor. BUT the chances of something in the trash bin getting recycled are zero. So why not try, it seems…

  4. Hannah

    I agree, the not recycling thing is so shocking- I too grew up being drilled with reduce/re-use/recycle and have done the same to my own elementary schoolers 🙂 I’ve heard some millennial & gen x-ers justify not recycling recyclable packaging pieces like cardboard or tissue paper because it “doesn’t make a difference”. Um.

    • But. But. But.

      I don’t get it. Of course, I’d love for companies to enact change and for there to be sweeping legislation even to make sure that it actually gets done. In the meantime, though, I can do my own individual part. Plus, I can vote and vote with my dollars to support people who do care about the environment.

      ::steps off soapbox::

  5. Not having to recycle feels like you are not helping out the environment and when you think about it, it’s not that difficult to do. Their are many places to recycle paper, bottles, paper etc..even in your home where you have a recycle bin.
    Hand me down toys are the way to go. We try to get toys from other sources like craigslist and nextdoor so we don’t have to worry about buying them. Although we do end up buying some toys because our son prefers certain ones like constructions trucks, we make an effort to provide as many second hand ones to him.

    • I think that’s an excellent approach. We try to make do with what we are given and just fill in with what’s needed when it comes to toys and clothes. Now, though, I am trying to force myself to be better about doing the same. I need to keep passing things along rather than trying to make 29 cents from them.

  6. So do you think the 25% of non-recycling millennials is the other piece to the 3 out of 4 millennials who want sustainability?

    Or do you think there is some weird overlap and there are groups of millennials who buy sustainable products but won’t recycle the packaging they come in?

    This is odd to me as a recycling Gen-X’er.

  7. I’m glad we ended with some positive trends there, friend. The first five (especially recycling) got me a little bummed.

    I agree it’s nice to see median incomes rising but not nearly fast enough to account for the increases in rents, education, and healthcare costs. I’m happy to get any gains we can, but a lot more needs to be done to give labor its fair share of the pie.

  8. Jane

    I read somewhere (Forbes?) an extremely interesting article pointing out that our stats about national savings rates actually aren’t terribly helpful because they don’t account for demographic shifts.

    So when you say the savings rate is 8% nationally it sounds like Person A and Person B both get $100 each and save $8/pp (or whatever numbers you like – A saves $15 and B saves $1). In reality, though, person A might be saving 16% and Person B might have a negative savings rates because Person B is retired and is drawing down her savings. (Which is a totally normal and unproblematic thing to do, so long as you don’t run out of money early.) So you could theoretically have a savings rate of 0% nationally where everyone was doing fine, just because there are equal or more retirees with negative savings rates than people who are still working who need a positive savings rate. And, in fact, the article concluded, we are heading toward a demographic point where we might have about equal retirees and working people because Boomers are such a large generation. That means our savings rate could drop potentially to 0%.

    That doesn’t mean we’re doing fine; it just means it’s too imprecise to talk about national savings rates without breaking it down further.

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