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The current global movement towards the banning of plastics is an initiative that resonates well with today’s Australians. Latest research from Mintel reveals that a third of urban Australians prefer to buy products that are sold in eco-friendly packaging (32%), as well as produced using sustainable sourcing methods (34%).

Shelley McMillan, Associate Consulting Director, ANZ, at Mintel, said:

“Across the globe, the need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly products is on an upward trend, with plastic reduction in particular top of mind. Today, we are seeing major retailers and brands across Australia and New Zealand joining hands with the rest of the world in tackling one of the biggest environmental issues globally. Retailers and brands from across categories are either replacing or removing plastic and are communicating their commitment towards saving the environment. This sits well in Australia and New Zealand, especially as our research indicates that consumers are on the road to a more sustainable and environmental future.

David Luttenburger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel, said:

“Plastic packaging adrift in the world’s oceans will become the catalyst driving brands to rethink packaging in a context consumers can understand and act upon. By reducing the likelihood of packaging waste entering the sea in the first place offers great potential for reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the ocean environment. Committing to the use of recycled content in all packaging, for instance, can drive the circular economy, reducing ocean plastic by ensuring an efficient route for packaging from consumer back to the producer.”

Good intentions aside, just 17% of urban Australian consumers are willing to pay a premium price for everyday goods that are environmentally friendly. Furthermore, a mere 12% say that helping to protect the environment (eg using fewer plastic bags) contributes to a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, as many as one in three (34%) urban Australians say that it is important for a brand to be sustainable.

Consumers, today, put the onus on brands to do more to protect the environment as they believe brands will have a greater impact than consumers alone. With demand for plastic packaging expected to double in the next two decades, a balanced and factual approach toward use and disposal, as well as consumer education on both, is a much-needed first step in learning how to live responsibly with plastic packaging.

“It is doubtful that the world will be completely plastic free, but there are myriad efforts being made to create plastic-free packaging, plastic-free retail aisles and even plastic-free and zero-waste stores. While removing plastic aligns with current consumer concerns, moving all consumer packaged goods into plastic-free packaging is neither economically viable nor a long-term solution. As such, retailers and brands should focus on increasing recycled content in rigid and flexible plastic packaging and working to increase general recycling in order to drive the plastic circular economy.” Luttenburger concludes.

Interviews with Shelley McMillan, Associate Consulting Director, ANZ, and David Luttenburger, Global Packaging Director, are available on request from the press office.