Seven in 10 people in 34 countries support global rules to stop plastic pollution

Consumers globally believe it is important for such a treaty to incorporate five key measures to tackle plastic pollution : ban unnecessary single-use plastics, ban types of plastic that cannot be easily recycled, have rules making manufacturers and retailers responsible for reducing, re-using and recycling plastic packaging, have global rules requiring all new plastic products to contain recycled plastic and require labelling of plastic products so that it is clear how to responsibly sort them for reuse, recycling or disposal.

The author(s)

  • Stuart Clark Ipsos Public Affairs, Australia
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An average of 70% people across 34 countries support a treaty that creates global rules for governments to end plastic pollution, according to the Global attitudes towards a plastic pollution treaty report by Ipsos.

Undertaken in conjunction with the Plastic Free Foundation and WWF, the survey was conducted among 23,029 adults under the age of 75 across 34 countries via Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform.

The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) has committed to an internationally binding treaty to combat plastic pollution by 2024. The details and scope of such a treaty have not yet been defined.

Seven in 10 support a treaty that sets global rules

Support for a treaty creating global rules for governments to end plastic pollution is highest in Latin America (77%) and Europe (72%), and lowest in North America (60%). The highest level of support for such a treaty is seen in Peru and Colombia (both 81%), while support is lowest in Japan (48%) and the United States (58%).

Ipsos Australia Public Affairs Director, Stuart Clark, said: “Our previous survey showed that ninety percent of people in the countries surveyed support an international treaty to stop plastic pollution. This new research highlights strong support for all countries agreeing to the same set of global rules.”

Support for a comprehensive set of measures to tackle plastic pollution

The survey also reveals that consumers globally believe it is important for the treaty to incorporate five different measures to tackle plastic pollution.

Stuart Clark said: “These high levels of support for measures that go beyond bans to include extended producer responsibility and clear labelling of products show that there’s a strong desire for countries to work together to implement a comprehensive set of rules in a global treaty.”

  • Clear majorities in every country surveyed, and a global average of 75%, believe that it is important to have global rules to ban unnecessary single-use plastics. Once again, Latin America shows the highest level of support at (81%), followed by Europe (74%). At a country level, Mexico has the highest level of support for global rules to ban unnecessary plastic at 87%, followed by Colombia (85%), Peru, Chile and South Korea (all 82%). Again, Japan has the lowest support for a treaty banning unnecessary plastics (54%), followed by Israel (60%), Sweden and the United States (both 63%).
  • Majorities of people across the 34 countries surveyed believe that it is important to have global rules to ban types of plastic that cannot be easily recycled, with a global average of 77%. Latin America again placed the highest importance on banning such plastics that cannot be easily recycled (84%), followed by APAC countries (75%). Those surveyed in North America (71%) and G-7 countries (72%) placed the least importance on such a ban. By country, Colombia placed the highest level of importance on banning plastics that cannot be easily recycled at 88%, followed by Peru (87%), Mexico and Chile (both 86%). Once again, Japan placed the least importance on such a ban at 53%, followed by Sweden and Israel (69%).
  • Majorities across the countries surveyed believe that it is important for a treaty to have rules making manufacturers and retailers responsible for reducing, re-using and recycling plastic packaging, with a global average of 78%. Latin America has the highest level of support for such rules (83%), while G-7 countries and North America have the lowest (both 73%). South Africa and Mexico place the highest importance on making manufacturers and retailers responsible for reducing, re-using and recycling plastic packaging (both 86%). Japan placed the least importance on this (56%), followed by Poland (69%).
  • In addition, clear majorities believe that it is important to have global rules requiring all new plastic products to contain recycled plastic, with a global average of 76%. The highest level of perceived importance of such rules is seen in Latin America (83%), while the lowest is in G-7 countries (71%). By country, such rules requiring all new plastic products to contain recycled plastic are considered most important in Mexico (87%), South Africa (85%) and Peru (85%). Once again, such rules are least important in Japan (52%), followed by Sweden (65%) and Saudi Arabia (68%).
  • A clear majority also believe that it is important to require labelling of plastic products so that it is clear how to responsibly sort them for reuse, recycling or disposal, with a global average of 77%. The highest level of perceived importance for rules on such labelling is in Latin America (84%) and APAC countries (78%), while the lowest is among G-7 countries and North America (both 74%). Global rules on such labelling is most important in Colombia and Peru (both 88%), and least important in Japan (63%) and Sweden (67%).

About this study

These are the results of a 34-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 23,029 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia and Singapore, and 16-74 in 24 other markets between Friday August 26 and Friday, September 9, 2022. 50 % of South Africa sample was collected between September 30 and October 7, 2022.

The author(s)

  • Stuart Clark Ipsos Public Affairs, Australia

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