Survey unveils consumer confusion in packaging recycling

Survey unveils consumer confusion in packaging recycling

Sustainability

A recent survey involving 2,000 European consumers conducted as part of the InformPack project, a collaboration between Aarhus University, the University of Reading, and various European industry partners and research institutes, highlights persistent confusion surrounding the recycling of food packaging. Despite sustainability initiatives by brands, consumer understanding remains a challenge in several European countries, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, and Italy.

The survey's key findings indicate that excessive packaging significantly influences consumer choices, particularly for fresh fruits and vegetables. Shoppers express a strong preference for reduced or zero packaging. Additionally, recycling symbols continue to perplex consumers, who find it challenging to interpret the symbols and separate materials for recycling. Respondents express a desire for simpler communication methods, such as videos and infographics, to enhance their understanding of recycling processes.

Contrary to previous findings that emphasised recycling challenges at home, the 2023 survey reveals that on-the-go disposal issues are now equally pressing. The scarcity of public recycling bins contributes to the difficulties faced by consumers when trying to dispose of items responsibly while outside their homes.

The survey also highlights country-specific factors that complicate recycling efforts. In Germany and Denmark, consumers express concerns about excessive packaging for fresh goods and baked items. In France and Finland, the focus is on minimising packaging waste for fruits and vegetables. Italians cite the cost burdens associated with sustainable packaging as a significant barrier to recycling efforts.

Overall, the survey underscores the need for targeted efforts to address consumer confusion, enhance recycling literacy, and tailor solutions to the specific challenges faced by different countries in their sustainability endeavours.

Lead researcher, Dr Stella Lignou, said: Consumers worldwide are seeking to make more sustainable choices, but they still encounter everyday barriers with recycling and decoding packaging labels. We must advance public guidance through preferred formats, such as videos, to achieve real behavioural shifts.

Latest Packaging News

FDA: PFAS phased out of U.S. food packaging
Business

FDA: PFAS phased out of U.S. food packaging

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the discontinuation of per- and...
Visitor registration opens for Automation UK
Events

Visitor registration opens for Automation UK

British Automation & Robot Association (BARA), organisers of Automation UK, are excited to...
Zafron Foods have triple helping of YPS Packaging lines
Supplier News

Zafron Foods have triple helping of YPS Packaging lines

As a result of expansion, Zafron Foods have taken delivery of a new side feed shrink wrapping line...
Connected packaging outlook bright for 2024
Technology

Connected packaging outlook bright for 2024

Creative technology studio Appetite Creative, in partnership with Domino Printing Sciences...
Berry launches reusable tableware range for the foodservice industry
Supplier News

Berry launches reusable tableware range for the foodservice industry

Berry Global has launched its Reusable Tableware Range to help meet the foodservice industry’s...