Economic concerns have not dented UK consumers’ drive for sustainability, new research reveals

Pro Carton, the leading European association for carton and cartonboard manufacturers recently commissioned a consumer packaging perceptions study conducted by Perspectus Global. 1,008 UK consumers were surveyed, with the research designed to highlight attitudes towards the environment, current concerns, and packaging perceptions. The survey explored issues facing consumers, covering topics such as the cost of living, inflation, warfare, racism, and climate change.

When asked what the biggest issues are facing UK consumers today, respondents revealed that the cost of living (75%), climate change (65%) and warfare (55.9%) are the greatest concerns. Compared with Pro Carton’s consumer survey results from 2022, respondents show a decreased concern for the cost of living (previously 84%) and an increased concern for climate change (previously 50%). Although the cost of living remains the most prominent issue on consumers’ minds,’ there is an increased awareness amongst consumers about the environment and climate change.

A noteworthy result from the survey is the level of confidence consumers have in their recycling practices. 86% of respondents expressed that they are very confident or somewhat confident about which packaging materials can be recycled. However, it’s the staggering confidence levels surrounding corrugated and cartonboard that truly stand out. Consumers exhibited an above-average confidence level of 86% when it comes to recycling paper and cartonboard, showcasing a deep understanding of its recyclability and environmental impact. Equally remarkable are the confidence rates associated with corrugated cartonboard (91%), both surpassing even traditionally strong materials like glass, which sits at 81%.

This desire to create a more sustainable future is not just a sentiment, rather an outstanding positive result, reflected by the fact that 50% of consumers admit they are recycling more than they previously were 12 months ago. This demonstrates respondents’ awareness of the benefits recycling offers for the environment.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis as a key factor on respondents’ minds, UK consumers are willing to pay 5.7% extra for a product if it means that packaging of the desired products has less impact on the environment. This percentage surpasses the EU average of 5.4%, highlighting UK consumers’ willingness to choose sustainable products.

Winfried Muehling, Director of Marketing & Communications at Pro Carton, commented, “British consumers are actively taking steps to try to mitigate climate change and create a more sustainable world. Showing the highest confidence level on defining recyclable packaging materials amongst their peers in Europe, we are pleased to see that consumers in the UK are becoming more confident when it comes to recycling. We look forward to seeing the UK’s continued progress when it comes to advancements in sustainable packaging and recycling, as we all work together to create sustainable circular economy.”

For further information on the full study and its results, visit


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