Data Journalist

Most Britons are trying to cut down on plastic, and would support government policies like bottle deposit schemes or widening the plastic bag charge

Half of Britons (46%) feel guilty about the amount of plastic they use, and even more (82%) are actively trying to reduce the amount they throw away, according to a new YouGov Custom survey.

The data also shows majority support among Britons for top-down policies such as a bottle deposit scheme or extending the plastic bag charge to all retailers (currently only retailers with more than 250 staff are part of the scheme).

How are people trying to cut down?

Among the 82% who are trying to cut down on their personal plastic use, eight in ten (81%) are watching out for plastic packaging on fresh fruit and vegetables they buy. A third are reducing plastic in household cleaning products (36%) or homeware (32%). A quarter are considering plastic packaging when purchasing personal care products like shampoo or toothpaste (27%), and a fifth are doing so when buying cosmetics (18%).

Half of Brits say they’d pay more for products with eco-friendly packaging

Given the choice of eco-friendly packaging at a higher price, or standard packaging at the normal price, Britons are more likely to say they would opt for the eco-friendly option (50% vs 33%).

Two thirds (69%) think all companies should be required by law to use eco-friendly packaging, even if it means prices going up. This rises to 89% among those who feel guilty about the amount of plastic waste they produce.

Half (51%) would pay an additional £2 or more on a grocery shop of £100 if all of the packaging used was eco-friendly and did not include any single-use plastics. A third (33%) would pay £3 or more, and a quarter (27%) would pay £5 or more. But one in five (18%) wouldn’t be willing to pay more at all.

Eight in ten would use a bottle deposit scheme, and three quarters want the plastic bag charge extended

A scheme where consumers pay an up-front deposit when they buy a bottle of drink from a store, such as those already operating in Denmark, Sweden and Germany, would be happily used by 80% of Britons.

Even among those who say they do not feel guilty about the amount of plastic they use, two-thirds (65%) say they would be likely to use a bottle deposit scheme.

Three quarters (71%) say they would support extending the plastic bag charge, currently only applicable to shops with over 250 employees, to all retailers.

Photo: Getty

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