New poll shows widespread support for action on plastic packaging from supermarkets

By agency reporter
June 6, 2018

New Populus polling, commissioned by Greenpeace, shows that almost nine out of 10 people (89 per cent) are concerned about ocean plastic pollution. Levels of concern over the issue have rocketed over the past 12 months, with two-thirds of people (67 per cent) saying they are more concerned about ocean plastic than they were a year ago. Around one-third (32 per cent) have maintained their level of concern, and just one per cent of the public is less concerned than this time last year.

The polling shows that the UK public overwhelmingly feel that supermarkets are not doing enough and that they expect more action from them in tackling plastic packaging and plastic pollution:

  • 72 per cent think supermarkets are not doing enough about plastic packaging to tackle the problem of plastic pollution
  • 84 per cent find it difficult to avoid plastic packaging in their regular supermarket shop
  • 86 per cent support the idea of supermarkets moving towards using more refillable and reusable packaging instead of using single use packaging
  • Fewer than a third of people (31 per cent) think their regular supermarket has taken steps to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they sell, while 91 per cent believe supermarkets should be working to reduce the amount of overall packaging they use
  • Over half (55 per cent) say they would choose to shop at a supermarket which does not over-package products.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such stark polling. When it comes to plastic pollution, Brits are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore,” said Elena Polisano, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK. “People all across the UK are on the same page: ocean plastic pollution needs tackling and it is urgent that supermarkets take meaningful action to reduce their plastic footprint now. If I was the CEO of a supermarket looking at these figures I’d be making some pretty frantic phone calls right now.”

A third of those polled (33 per cent) said they were likely to switch to a different supermarket that they feel is doing more to reduce their plastic use, including regular customers at Tesco (34 per cent); Asda (32 per cent); Sainsburys (30 per cent); Morrisons (29 per cent); Lidl (38 per cent) and Aldi (37 per cent).

The polling also shows strong support for supermarkets backing and hosting deposit return schemes for drinks containers, which increase collection and reuse rates: 86 per cent said supermarkets should be supporting and hosting deposit return schemes for plastic bottles, glass bottles and drinks cans; 73 per cent said the government should introduce laws to ban unrecyclable plastic packaging in supermarkets.

Greenpeace's supermarket challenge is calling on UK retailers to:

  • Introduce transparency by publishing yearly audits of single-use plastic use
  • Set year on year targets to reduce their single-use plastic footprint
  • Urgently eliminate unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic packaging by 2019

* Greenpeace


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