We know everybody has a part to play in tackling the climate emergency. There is a growing consumer desire to do more to help protect the planet, but against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, many businesses are attempting to drive down costs at the price of sustainability. At Bantam Materials, which is a for profit business aligned with the real world needs of the plastic bottle recycling industry, we want to make it easier for brands, retailers, and manufacturers to offer consumers better plastic packaging choices.
That’s why we have invested in research from Kantar – to find out where customer ambitions are when it comes to sustainable packaging. The research found that 62% of shoppers try to buy products packaged in an environmentally friendly way. The demand is there, now more businesses must step up if we are going to embrace a circular economy on plastics on a global scale, and it cannot wait.
Taking fish as an example of consumer purchasing habits, we commissioned research from Kantar in May 2022, titled ‘Finding the Value in the Fresh Fish Market’, to find out where customer ambitions are not being met by supply. We found that 60% of people that bought fish are seeking better plastic choices and over three quarters (78%) are willing to make changes to their shopping habits to achieve this.
How to help consumers make better plastic choices
But there is a problem. Less than half (45%) of those shoppers were confident they could identify in store which packaging has least impact on the environment. This clearly shows more needs to be done to make it easier for shoppers to make good choices.
That’s why we created the Prevented Ocean Plastic (POP) logo which is displayed on all our packaging. It shows that the product is packaged in high quality, certified and award-winning recycled plastic material made from discarded plastic collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution. Used by supermarkets and brands around the world, it meets regulatory health and safety standards, is traceable back to source and can be identified on-pack through its distinctive triangular logo. For consumers, seeing the logo means they know they are protecting the oceans and marine life from pollution; reducing CO2 emissions; cutting the need for more virgin plastic; supporting people working in materials collection in developing countries across the world; and driving up standards across the ocean-bound plastic recycling industry.
Our research has also shown the logo is effective. Nearly a quarter (23%) of people who bought fish said they had seen the Prevented Ocean Plastic logo before. Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they are interested in buying fish with Prevented Ocean Plastic packaging if it’s the same price or product as with other packaging and 58% said they would swap to POP packaged fish if it was available in their supermarket. Additionally, nearly half (43%) said they would buy products in Prevented Ocean Plastic packaging because it’s better for the environment and 34% because it makes them feel like they are making a difference.
Ultimately, we know consumers want to make better choices. Businesses must now support them to make them easily and quickly. We need to provide more products in recycled packaging and work towards creating a truly circular economy.