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Living on the edge, Americans 18 to 34 are the least likely age group to comply with product recalls.

Charlie Heller
September 26, 2017

Throwing a wrench into the myth of the "coddled millennial," a recent survey by Stericycle Expert Solutions found that while a majority of Americans at least claim to follow recall notices, millennials are the least likely age group to do so. Defined by the survey of over 1,000 Americans as between ages 18 and 34, 18 percent of millennials say they usually ignore recall notices compared to six percent of boomers (defined as 55 and over), and are over twice as likely to throw a notice in the trash after reading it.

When it comes to what kind of recalls they're more likely to listen to, though, millennials joined the rest of America in ranking food and pharmaceutical products as the most important. The survey found that 70 percent of Americans judge whether to follow a recall notice based on whether or not they believe it will personally affect them, which is probably why 85 percent will check their fridges or cupboards when they hear about a recall.

So why are millennials throwing caution to the wind? Well, 33 percent of millennials told the survey they consider recall notices "not serious," compared to boomers 21 percent, though the country's average of 26 percent isn't that far off from either figure. Still, it's substantial enough to matter, since millennials are now the largest living generation, according to Stericycle VP Michael Good.

Good thinks the age discrepancy shows that recalls are "as much a communications challenge as they are a logistical one," and that recall compliance needs to be made " easier and more relevant to this generation." Though whether you can boil down a single cause or solution for how recalls affect a group that not only makes up a quarter of the country's population, but its most diverse generation ever, remains to be seen. Considering that millennials make 20 percent less than boomers did at the same age despite being better educated, maybe they just don't have the time.