FEATURE18 December 2018

Wasteful habits

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Awareness of the harm of single-use plastic may have increased in the UK, but is this concern translating to behaviour change? Nick Bonney takes a look. 


Since he first hit our screens in the early 1950s, Sir David Attenborough has made an unparalleled contribution to our understanding of the natural world. However, raising awareness of disposable packaging and its impact on our seas could become his most significant contribution. 

Since Blue Planet II aired in 2017, plastic has become a critical issue; it’s estimated that 8m metric tonnes enter our oceans each year and, if this trend continues, the WWF estimates that we’ll have more plastic than fish (by weight) in our seas by 2050.

Our research has found that more than eight in 10 UK consumers are now aware of the issue, dwarfing awareness of other high-profile environmental stories, such as diesel pollution ( 45% aware). According to similar Ipsos research, 41% of consumers claim to be ‘very concerned’ about the impact of plastics on the environment.

However, while there has been a surge in concern, it’s questionable whether we ...