80% shoppers say grocers aren’t doing enough to reduce plastic waste

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Veganuary
// 89% of shoppers say they are taking action in store to reduce plastic waste
// Yet 80% believe supermarkets are not doing enough
// YouGov research finds consumers keen to see packaging-free fruit and vegetables

A total of 80 per cent of shoppers believe supermarkets are not doing enough to tackle single use plastic waste.

A nationwide report by YouGov found that while 89 per cent of consumers say that are taking action in store by avoiding single use plastic bags, excessive packaging or bringing their own bags and packaging, they don’t believe supermarkets are doing enough to aid them.

As part of the report, which was commissioned by SodaStream, consumers prioritised the initiatives they believe supermarkets could put into place to reduce single-use plastics. 

These included 71 per cent of respondents calling for more packaging-free fruit and vegetables and 68 per cent saying supermarkets should encouraging suppliers to reduce plastic waste.

67 per cent of shoppers polled said supermarkets should offer more non plastic packing items, 65 per cent believe grocers should provide shopping bags made of recycled, biodegradable or compostable materials and  64 per cent think supermarkets should provide plastic bottle deposit schemes. 

Meanwhile YouGov’s report found 77 per cent of those polled said they reused shopping bags and 50 per cent bought fewer or no plastic bags for fruit and vegetables.

Some 45 per cent of polled consumers purchased fewer single use plastic items, 33 per cent said they used plastic bottle recycling facilities and 20 per cent said they purchased sustainable consumables.

“It has been encouraging to see supermarkets making significant headway in taking action to reduce single-use plastic consumption,” said SodaStream general manager Tiago Alves.

“Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose and Tesco have all signed up to a new industry-wide initiative that aims to make all plastic packaging recyclable, recycled or biodegradable by 2025. Iceland recently became the first major retailer to commit to eliminating plastic packaging for all own brand products in the next five years, whilst M&S announced earlier this year that it was trialling 90 lines of loose fruit and veg free of plastic bags,” Alves argued.

“However, despite all this, the vast majority of consumers still feel they could do more or are doing very little when comparing them to other parts of the retail sector.

“This study shows supermarkets what consumers would buy into in terms of single-use plastic initiatives and it’s a real opportunity to win market share amongst increasingly plastic waste conscious shoppers,” said Alves.

The research comes just a week after Waitrose revealed it was testing a new “Unpacked” concept with refillable zones in its stores, as well as pick-and-mix frozen fruit and a borrow-a-box scheme for customers. 

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