Survey Shows 90% Want All Packaging To Be Recyclable

A survey conducted by Cardiff University shows three quarters of people want the government to ensure products are recyclable and repairable and almost 90% want all packaging to be recyclable.

The survey was conducted by Cardiff University, as part of a project for the Centre for Industrial Materials, Energy and Products (CIEMAP). CIEMAP, a coalition of universities, has published the research with the think tank Green Alliance.

CIEMAP’s research shows that the most popular policies, which lead to better product and packaging design and longer lasting products, are also the ones that cut the most carbon emissions.

Redesigning products to use less material and reducing packaging could cut the emissions associated with commonly used household products by nearly 20 per cent. These savings would rise to nearly 40% if products were also made to last longer and could be shared via schemes like car clubs or London’s Library of Things.

Key survey findings:

  • Nearly 90% of people (80%) believe there is a strong or very strong need to shift to a society that uses resources more efficiently. Only 0.4%believe there is no need at all
  • Two thirds (65%) of people are frustrated by products that do not last
  • Three quarters (75%) believe the government should be responsible for ensuring that businesses produce repairable and recyclable products
  • 89 % believe all packaging should be made of recyclable materials
  • 81% believe businesses should be required to provide repair, maintenance or disposal support for their products

Professor Nick Pidgeon, who led the team conducting the research, said:“We were surprised by the level of agreement from the many people we surveyed and talked to in our workshops.

“It was overwhelmingly clear that people aren’t satisfied and want to see change. They really care about this. They want higher quality products and less waste. Improving resource efficiency is an easy win for both the public and the environment.”

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said:“Becoming a resource efficient economy is a vital part of tackling climate change, as this timely report shows. Ministers must use every tool in the box to reduce the amount of plastic we use, and boost recycling rates.”

Professor Nick Pidgeon – “It was overwhelmingly clear that people aren’t satisfied and want to see change. They really care about this. They want higher quality products and less waste. Improving resource efficiency is an easy win for both the public and the environment.”

Ben Goldsmith, Chief Executive Officer of Menhaden Capital and Chair of the Conservative Environment Network, said:“Ensuring that we use raw materials of all kinds much more efficiently will not only save us a great deal of money, and the environment a great deal of needless damage, but it will also create numerous new green industrial jobs. Resource efficiency is the ultimate win-win-win policy, and this report by Green Alliance shows that people overwhelmingly want the government to grasp the opportunity.”

Libby Peake, senior policy adviser on resources at Green Alliance, said:“People are frustrated by unnecessary, unrecyclable packaging and shoddy products that don’t last. The government has a clear mandate from the voting public to make sure these become things of the past.

“If it gets serious about dealing with this in its forthcoming resources strategy, it will not only be hugely popular with the public but also have a new route to tackling climate change.”


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  1. The title of this article is somewhat misleading.
    The content of the survey is revealing and the conclusions sound – however to focus on recyclability of packaging is a red herring.
    Whilst there is no doubt that selection of materials and formats would make packaging easier to recycle, the point is that a high proportion of packaging already can be recycled.

    However, packaging – especially plastics and glass are not recycled for a number of reasons:-
    – Local Authorities do not collect in a manner that supports easy sortation
    – Waste Management companies do not sort as much as could be sorted
    – There is no significant market for recycled plastic

    All these must be addressed to achieve higher recycling rates of packaging materials.

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