“Governments must set out incentives”, says City to Sea

As the UK prepares for a general election, research by City to Sea has shown that three-quarters of respondents agree that it should be a government priority to tackle plastic pollution.

Done in collaboration with market research team Obsurvant, City to Sea asked 2,037 UK-based respondents about their awareness and attitudes, as well as reuse habits, regarding plastic pollution.

The research would suggest that the population is actively trying to transition away from plastic use, with 64% “motivated by the desire” to reduce their use of single-use packaging when shopping for groceries.

83% of consumers said they are “concerned” about the amount of plastic that can be found in their weekly grocery shop, compared to 75% in May 2021.

81% of those polled use reusable shopping bags and 65% owning a reusable water bottle, suggesting a strong commitment to reuse.

Lack of availability

Respondents also felt that a lack of availability of sustainable alternatives were preventing them from doing more to reduce their use of single-use plastics, with over two-thirds calling for more brands to offer reuse and refill and reduce packaging.

71% said they would view brands and retailers “much more favourably” if they took these vital steps.

City to Sea has been collaborating with industry and retailers to make reuse and refill more accessible.

City to Sea has said campaigners are calling for political parties to include commitments to legally binding reusable packaging targets, and a complete ban on single-use packaging, in their manifestos.

Jane Martin, CEO of City to Sea, said: “Retailers such as M&S, Aldi and brands like Ecover are leading the reuse and refill mission by undertaking trials which are showing great results.

“However, businesses must have legislative support to meet consumer demand. This includes governments setting legally binding reusable and refillable packaging targets alongside single-use plastic bans.

“To create a plastic-free future, governments must set out incentives and foster opportunities for businesses to transition from single-use packaging. Our research shows just how important the plastic problem is to the British public and their desire for reuse and refill alternatives. We will continue to work with policymakers, businesses, and consumers to create a reuse revolution.”

Stuart Chidley, co-founder at Reposit, said: “It’s a positive step forwards to see consumers demand more reuse options. Through our ongoing collaborations with leading brands including M&S, we’re building scalable solutions that create sustainable packaging for people and planet. As the public continues to move away from single-use packaging, we call on brands and retailers to build on this momentum by committing further to reuse schemes.”

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