Three quarters of people in global survey want single-use plastics banned

8 in 10 (80%) Britons support banning single-use plastics in a global Ipsos survey.

The author(s)
  • Dr. Emily Gray Managing Director, Scotland
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  • An average of more than eight in 10 would like to see an international treaty to combat plastic pollution
  • Britons among the most supportive of businesses taking responsibility for reducing, reusing and recycling plastic packaging

An average of three-quarters of people across 28 countries agree that single-use plastic should be banned as soon as possible, the ‘Attitudes towards single-use plastic’ survey by Ipsos, in conjunction with Plastic Free July, has revealed.

In Britain, 8 in 10 (80%) support banning single-use plastics while the highest levels of agreement are seen in Colombia (89%), Chile and Mexico (both 88%), and Argentina and China (both 84%), and the lowest levels in Japan (37%), the United States (55%) and Canada (66%).

The study was conducted among 20,513 adults under the age of 75 across 28 countries on Ipsos’s Global Advisor online platform.

On average, 88% of people surveyed across 28 countries believe it is essential, very important or fairly important to have an international treaty to combat plastic pollution. Nine in 10 (90%) Britons feel it is important to have such a treaty.

The five countries with the highest levels of agreement are Mexico (96%), Brazil (95%), Colombia (94%), and Chile and Peru (both 92%). Those with the lowest ones are Japan (70%), the US (78%) and Canada (79%).

Clear majorities of consumers in every country, and a global average of 82%, also agree they prefer products that use as little plastic packaging as possible. Those with the highest levels of agreement are China, Mexico, and Colombia with 92% agreement, followed by Chile (90%) and Peru (87%). Again, Japan is the country with the lowest percentage agreeing (56%), followed by the US (71%) and the Netherlands (73%). In Britain, 86% agree they prefer products with as little plastic packaging as possible.

Vast majorities of people in all 28 countries agree that manufacturers and retailers should take responsibility for reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic packaging, with a global average of 85%.

The five countries where support for having manufacturers and retailers take responsibility is highest are Brazil, China, Great Britain, and Mexico, all at 90%, and Sweden at 89%, while those least likely to agree are Japan (72%), Saudi Arabia and South Korea both at 79%.

Plastic Free July®, is a global movement (by the not-for-profit Plastic Free Foundation) helping people take action to end plastic waste by choosing to refuse single-use plastic. The Ipsos study will be featured by Plastic Free July and WWF leading up to the upcoming UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) 5.2. One decision to be made at UNEA will be whether to start negotiations on a new global agreement to reduce plastic waste and unsustainable production of single-use plastics, and address marine plastic pollution.

Ipsos Scotland Managing Director, Emily Gray, said:

The British public are very aware of the impact that single-use plastics have on the environment and want manufacturers and retailers to make it easy for them to do the right thing. People want change to happen quickly and they want government to support it. And the British public aren’t alone in their concern about this issue – these results show there is a strong consensus globally that single-use plastics should be taken out of circulation as quickly as possible.

Technical note

This 28-country Global Advisor survey was conducted between August 20th and September 3rd 2021 via the Ipsos Online Panel system among 20,513 adults aged 18-74 in Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States, and 16-74 in all 21 other countries.
The author(s)
  • Dr. Emily Gray Managing Director, Scotland

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