shopper pushing trolley

 Brits call for sustainable options to be made more affordable

  • One in six Brits say they simply can’t afford to shop sustainably, and almost a quarter (23 per cent) believe that green produce is ‘too expensive for most people’
  • Three quarters of shoppers say they could be made instantly more sustainable if manufacturers would just make packaging for their favourite products more eco-friendly
  • More than half of shoppers say they now make purchasing decisions based on how sustainable their favourite products are
  • However, 45% admit they’re still confused by recycling labels

Despite numerous Government initiatives and campaigns   spearheaded by prominent environmental activists such as Sir David Attenborough, it appears that price, convenience, and branding remain more important than sustainability when Brits are splashing the cash. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of Britons believe that green produce is ‘too expensive for most people’ and one in six say they simply can’t afford sustainable products.

But while many shoppers priced themselves out of the green agenda, a poll of 2,000 adults by cardboard campaign group Beyond the Box, found that more than half of shoppers base purchasing decisions on a product’s overall environmental credentials.

According to the survey of 2,000 adults, the material a product is packaged in influences the purchase decision for 58 per cent. In fact, the study found that when it comes to the supermarket, 38 per cent of groceries purchased are considered eco-friendly.

Andy Barnetson, spokesperson for Beyond the Box comments: “It is encouraging to see the number of adults looking to be more sustainable when it comes to their weekly shop – particularly as many of us hit the supermarket aisles on autopilot, with our shopping lists primed. However, for those seeking positive changes, it is important to ensure sustainability is at least a consideration during the purchase process.

“A good way to do this is to reflect on the materials used to package products when you are browsing the supermarket shelves, consider the packaging and opt for those items which are wrapped in materials which are widely recyclable, such as paper-based materials like cardboard.”

As this suggests, among those polled, food is the main area in which they actively try to shop sustainably (55 per cent). This is way ahead of the next highest types of goods – clothing (31 per cent), cleaning products (26 per cent) and gardening supplies (18 per cent).

However, one in six (17 per cent) said they simply cannot afford to shop sustainably and around a quarter (23 per cent) also believe that green produce is too expensive for most people.

Another barrier to being more eco-friendly – or recycling more at least – is the recycling information found on packaging. A puzzled forty-five per cent said they don’t know what the recycling logos found on many household items actually mean.

Currently just a third of those polled consider themselves to be especially green. But this figure could be higher – three in four (75 per cent) said they could be ‘much more’ sustainable if more companies made their packaging eco-friendly.

Andy Barnetson added, “These decisive results suggest there is a strong desire among many of those polled to be greener, whether that’s when they’re at home or out and about. At Beyond the Box, we continue to urge big brands and retailers to do everything within their power to support this by making sustainable packaging like cardboard a key part of their supply chain.

“But sustainability isn’t just the responsibility of big brands and supermarkets – we’ve all got an important part to play. We’d urge everyone to choose sustainable packaging materials where they can and make recycling this packaging a big priority. Cardboard fits the bill as a sustainable packaging material because it is recyclable, renewable, and re-usable. Plus, by recycling items like cardboard boxes, the fibres used to create the boxes can go on to be used again and again.”


Notes to Editors

About Beyond the Box

Bringing together experts from leading UK packaging companies, Beyond the Box, launched by the Confederation of Paper Industries, helps Britons learn more about the nation’s sustainable packaging choice: Cardboard.

Visit for more information.

For more information, including spokesperson requests, please contact Sophie Menzies at Richmond & Towers Communications: / 07747842021