A study commissioned by Australia's largest rigid plastic packaging manufacturer has found the vast majority of those surveyed are concerned about excess packaging, but fewer than half will pay more for "environmentally friendly" packaging.
Melbourne-based Pact Group Holdings Ltd. commissioned Melbourne-based Quantum Market Research Pty. Ltd. to conduct an online survey of 1,000 Australians selected as being representative of the population by gender, location, income, education and age. All were older than 18.
The study found 91 percent agree they are concerned about excess packaging's environmental impacts and 87 percent are "annoyed" by the amount of packaging around products.
Some 45 percent will pay more for more "environmentally friendly" packaging, but 73 percent will switch brands if an alternative product's packaging is touted as more "environmentally friendly."
Only 52 percent agree they understand what happens to packaging collected via curbside recycling and 62 percent are unsure what packaging is recyclable. If they don't know, 77 percent opt for landfill via curbside garbage collection.
Quantum said the research results suggest a lack of trust in post-consumer recycling because 80 percent of survey respondents are concerned about what happens to packaging they recycle, and 70 percent feel guilty about the amount of packaging waste their households produce.
Compared with their level of concern about excess packaging five years ago, 66 percent of respondents are more concerned. Most want to reduce packaging waste but 82 percent agree they don't have enough choice when buying products and 75 percent feel "forced" to buy "over-packaged" products.
While shopping, 60 percent strongly or somewhat agree that they avoid buying products with excess packaging; 59 percent actively seek products with less packaging; and 43 percent avoid products with excess packaging.
Pact's latest annual report said the company is committed to, by 2025:
• Eliminating all non-recyclable packaging it produces.
• Finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle single-use packaging it produces for supermarket products.
• Offering 30 percent recycled content across its packaging portfolio.
Speaking at the launch of a new Australasian recycling label to help consumers more easily identify what packaging is recyclable, Pact Group Chairman Raphael Geminder called on governments to provide incentives to companies that divert waste from landfill.
"I'd like to see a landfill levy credit, rewarding those who reduce landfill with savings. Those who manufacture with recycled materials should also be rewarded to ensure a stable market for the product we are asking consumers to help us create," he said.
Geminder is acting CEO while Pact seeks a replacement for former CEO Malcolm Bundey.