In the midst of heated discussions about packaging, avoidable plastic waste and a move towards a circular economy, a snap poll, conducted by Two Sides and international research agency Toluna, has revealed a strong preference for paper & cardboard packaging amongst UK consumers.
A nationally-representative survey of 500 UK adults found paper & cardboard to be the most preferred packaging material for environmental-friendliness, recyclability and practicality.
Respondents were asked which packaging material (glass, metal, paper & cardboard, or plastic) they prefer based on a number of different reasons. Paper & cardboard received the highest score for being; better for the environment and easier to recycle and, in terms of practicality, easier to open and close, easier to store, lighter weight, more practical, and safer to use.
Consumers also appreciate paper & cardboard packaging’s unique environmental qualities:
• 78% like paper & cardboard packaging because it is biodegradable
• 73% believe paper & cardboard packaging makes good use of recycled materials
• 64% like paper & cardboard packaging because it is made from renewable wood fibre
Martyn Eustace, Managing Director of Two Sides, says: “In the current packaging climate, it is great to see paper & cardboard packaging recognised by consumers for its excellent environmental attributes. Not only does paper & cardboard packaging have an exceptionally high utilisation rate of recycled fibres, it is also the most recycled packaging material in Europe, at 83%. Consumers can also be confident knowing that European forests, which provide much of the virgin fibre used for making paper & cardboard packaging, have grown by an area the size of Switzerland in just 10 years – that’s equivalent to over 1,500 football pitches every day!”
The survey also revealed significant consumer concerns about packaging in general. 85% believe packaging is a significant source of litter, 84% believe over-packaging is a problem, and 71% believe packaging is bad for the environment. Coffee cups, plastic bottles, chocolate bar wrappers, crisp packets and take-away packaging were all perceived to be the most significant causes litter.
Paper & cardboard packaging is durable, renewable and recyclable and will be an essential material as we move towards a regenerative, circular economy, as outlined in the UK Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.