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The (Gradual) Greening of America

Roughly the same share of adults in the U.S. are adopting various eco-driven behaviors as they were a year ago, according to consultant WSL Strategic Retail.

A favorite green practice Shopping with reusable totes

A favorite green practice: Shopping with reusable totes.

Photo By Harrison Eastwood/Getty Images

Despite the newest wave of products and services making claims they’re environmentally friendly and the surge of marketing campaigns spouting green messages, roughly the same share of adults in the U.S. are adopting various eco-driven behaviors as they were a year ago, according to consultant WSL Strategic Retail.

The bottom line: The easier things are made for people, the more likely they are to take on those ways, observed WSL principal partner Candace Corlett. The most favored among them include using canvas totes in place of paper and plastic shopping bags at stores, a practice being adopted by about 31 percent of consumers; buying things packaged in recyclable materials (28 percent), avoiding products with “too much” packaging (27 percent) and shopping at stores that indicate they’re making sustainability a priority (22 percent).

The number of people making green choices such as these has been growing by between 1 and 4 percent this year, signaling a slight increase, based on a nationally representative group of 1,500 adults 18 and older, who WSL polled online in May and June.

When asked the degree to which economic considerations come into play, say, in switching to lightbulbs that consume less energy or to devices that reduce the amount of water used in one’s home, Corlett acknowledged they’re a factor. She also said “we believe people’s hearts and minds are in the right place.” Noting WSL asks consumers about eco-concerns year-round, Corlett added, “A number of people have said, ‘I wish I was doing more,’ especially people 55 and older.”