Ubamarket, the innovative retail app, has commissioned nationally representative research across a sample of 2003 UK adults to find out how Brits feel about plastic packaging in our supermarkets. This research is released alongside Ubamarket’s new feature, ‘Plastic Alerts’, a new industry first that allows supermarket shoppers to easily identify the most environmentally friendly products. Supermarkets generate 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year and, following Greenpeace’s publication of the most wasteful supermarkets, all eyes are on the industry to reform its approach to plastic use.
- 82% – nearly 43 million – of UK shoppers believe the level of plastic packaging on food and drink products needs to be changed drastically
- Despite younger generations being thought of as more environmentally concerned, those aged 55+ were significantly more concerned with plastic use on food and drink products, 90% of them stating the level was totally unnecessary and in need of immediate change
- 57% (29,926,575) think that plastic pollution is the single greatest threat to life and the environment in modern history
- Again, the older generations identified with this the most, 63% confirming that plastic pollution was of paramount importance to them
- 77% of Brits, representing more than 40 million nationally, think that, no matter how much they recycle, they feel it is the manufactures and supermarkets that are causing the most plastic pollution
- 44% of respondents, representing 22,724,436 nationally, actively purchased products that have less of an impact on the environment, even if they were more expensive
- 36%, or 18.7 million nationally, stated that they won’t purchase from retailers and companies that are known to have poor environmental standards around their packaging
- 42% – 21.7 million nationally – of the British public want to be more environmentally conscious but feel they do not know enough about recycling and plastic pollution to make informed changes
- 41% of respondents, representing 21.6 million nationally, believe that plastic packaging is having an adverse effect on their health
- 65%, or 33.8 million nationally, want to make the switch to more environmentally friendly products but feel that these products are often significantly more expensive
Following the success of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series, public perception of single-use plastics has shifted dramatically, Brits concerned with images of animals caught in plastic packaging. ‘Single-use’ was recently announced as Collins Dictionary’s word of the year and corporations and consumers alike have felt the pressure to reduce the plastic waste they produce. Earlier on in 2018, Carlsberg announced its intention to remove plastic packaging from its beers, switching to a biodegradable material for their six pack rings.
Ubamarket’s research highlights the growing sentiment within British consumers that the amount of plastic we are wasting simply isn’t acceptable anymore. However, that sentiment is accompanied by a certain level of cynicism, that their efforts are somewhat in vain when compared with the vast tonnage of plastic waste produced by supermarkets and their suppliers. Despite the fact that 57% of British shoppers believe that plastic waste is the greatest threat to the environment in modern history, an eye-watering 77% believe their efforts to reduce their waste are just a drop in the ocean of plastic produced by companies. Despite this and the majority of Brits that believe environmentally friendly products are too expensive to make the permanent switch to, that hasn’t stopped 18.7 million from actively avoiding companies that they know have poor relationships with plastic.
Ubamarket have launched their ‘Plastic Alerts’ feature to empower consumers, who definitely shouldn’t underestimate the power they have over suppliers and supermarkets. Spending power is just about the most effective way shoppers can apply pressures to manufacturers to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in their products.
Plastic Alerts – How does it work?
Ubamarket allows customers to scan their shopping as they go, guiding them to the products they need in store and letting them skip the till queues by paying for everything in-app. ‘Plastic Alerts’ works by displaying the plastic content of all scanned items, including whether the plastic is recyclable, allowing you to choose a more environmentally friendly alternative.