Time to bin excess packaging, say consumers and councils

Shoppers are tired of too much packaging, polling by YouGov for the Local Government Association has found.

Shoppers are tired of too much packaging, polling by YouGov for the Local Government Association has found.

The research found that 71 per cent of people believe supermarkets and retailers use too much packaging. Nine in 10 (88 per cent) believe only recyclable material should be used, and that it should have clearer labelling.

Councils are calling on all political parties to pledge to introduce the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, which will shift the costs of dealing with waste from taxpayers on to the producers with incentives to help reduce and recycle.

LGA and YouGov polling also found that:

  • 85 per cent of people think companies should be required by Government to reduce the amount of packaging used 
  • Councils are six times more likely to be trusted to run waste and recycling services (52 per cent) than the Government (6 per cent) or industry (8 per cent)
  • The public are 12 times more likely to think costs in reducing packaging should be met by companies producing it (48 per cent) rather than councils dealing with it (4 per cent).

The LGA is also calling on the Government to ensure that councils will continue to have the autonomy to run waste and recycling services in a way to suits the needs of their individual communities, and to ensure they receive the funding needed to deliver local waste services in good time to enable long-term planning.

The reforms rest alongside the ‘simpler recycling’ changes that provide greater consistency to waste and recycling services provided by councils around the country. 

Looking further ahead, councils want to see the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme expanded to include other items, such as littering and furniture.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the LGA said: 

“Public satisfaction with waste services remains high, it is something councils work hard to achieve and we are pleased to see the public most trust councils to lead local waste services.

“Good packaging is essential for keeping products fresh and intact, and producers are doing more to reduce waste and support recycling. But everybody can see the levels of waste, across our shop shelves, delivered to our homes, and into our bins. Councils see it every day and spend millions dealing with it. 

“We support reforms for packaging producers taking responsibility for meeting costs and in helping further reduce and recycle packaging waste, it is crucial that the costs are met and that councils continue to lead local waste and recycling services.”

Notes to editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,112 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 2nd November 2023.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in England and Wales (aged 18+).