The UK public’s tolerance of plastic waste is wearing thin, research from TIPA shows
Recent independent research commissioned by compostable packaging company TIPA reveals consumers are urgently demanding more action to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste.
Following on from Theresa May’s pledge to eliminate plastic waste by 2042, over half (56 per cent) of consumers believe existing measures such as the 5p charge for plastic bags don’t go far enough and the country should be taking further measures.
A survey of 2,000 UK consumers has revealed the oldest age group cares most about plastic waste, with 9 in 10 (89%) of 55+ year olds saying they are concerned, compared to 73% of 25-34 year olds and 70% of 18-24 year olds. This indicates that this isn’t a trend unique to younger respondents who will inevitably have to deal with the problem for longer.
Overall, nearly a quarter of respondents (22%) believe plastic waste should realistically be eliminated in the next 5-10 years, while one in five think the government’s 2042 target is realistic.
Nine out of ten of consumers also say they understand the issue of plastic waste and the impact it has on the ocean, land and food chain.
Reflecting this, over 4 in 5 (82%) people say they are concerned about environmental degradation, with over four in ten (44%) extremely concerned.
Harming marine wildlife tops their concerns at 77%, potentially due to the popularity of recent TV shows such as ‘Blue Planet II’, which highlighted the scale of the problem. Harming land wildlife (69%) is the second most prominent concern, while harming human health ranks third behind wildlife at 56%.
Recently it was revealed that recycling plants can’t process black plastic packaging at end of life because of the scanning technology in place. This adds to the fact that recycling can only be carried out a finite number of times before degrading past the point of reuse.
Consumers were asked if they had heard of compostable packaging or biodegradable packaging. Over 80% of consumers said they were aware of compostable packaging, showing consumers are well educated on the alternatives to plastic packaging.
Daphna Nissenbaum, CEO and co-founder of TIPA said: “Avoiding the damage caused by single-use plastic is the very reason I founded TIPA, but we were surprised at just how strongly consumers feel about the issue of plastic waste and how eager they are to see action.”
“The UK public is now very aware of the issue of plastic waste and beginning to understand that most packaging used by retailers goes to landfill, recycling plants are unable to handle many types of plastic waste and biodegradable doesn’t mean that the plastic disappears completely.
“Our research shows that government and private organisations need to work together to swiftly bring through new types of packaging which leave no trace on the environment and alleviate these justified consumer concerns.”