Consumer survey identifies trend towards fiber-based packaging

A snap poll of UK consumers has identified a preference for paper and cardboard packaging.

A snap poll of UK consumers has identified a preference for paper and cardboard packaging

The poll, conducted by industry body Two Sides and international research agency Toluna, has identified paper and cardboard to be the most preferred packaging material for environmental-friendliness, recyclability and practicality.

Respondents were asked which packaging material – glass, metal, paper and cardboard, or plastic – they prefer based on a number of different reasons. Paper and cardboard received the highest score for being better for the environment and easier to recycle and, in terms of practicality, easier to open and close, easier to store, lighter weight, more practical and safer to use.

Specific outcomes were: 78 percent choosing paper and cardboard packaging because it is biodegradable; 73 percent believing paper and cardboard packaging makes good use of recycled materials; and 64 percent liking paper and cardboard packaging because it is made from renewable wood fiber.

The survey also revealed significant consumer concerns about packaging in general. Some 85 percent believe packaging is a significant source of litter, 84 percent believe over-packaging is a problem and 71 percent believe packaging is bad for the environment. Coffee cups, plastic bottles, chocolate bar wrappers, crisp packets and takeaway packaging were all perceived to be the most significant causes litter.

Martyn Eustace, managing director at Two Sides, commented: ‘In the current packaging climate, it is great to see paper and cardboard packaging recognized by consumers for its excellent environmental attributes. Not only does paper and cardboard packaging have an exceptionally high utilization rate of recycled fibers, it is also the most recycled packaging material in Europe, at 83 percent. Consumers can also be confident knowing that European forests, which provide much of the virgin fiber used for making paper and cardboard packaging, have grown by an area the size of Switzerland in just 10 years – that’s equivalent to over 1,500 football pitches every day.’

Two Sides is a global initiative by companies from the graphic communications industry to promote their sustainability credentials and dispel environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium. Members companies include those with an interest in forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators. Members include Alexir Packaging, hubergroup UK, INX International UK, Lecta, KBA (UK), Sappi Europe, Stora Enso and Sun Chemical Ltd.