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Populus research finds public demands supermarket action on plastic pollution in oceans

Populus research conducted on behalf of Greenpeace, and published on World Environment Day, has revealed increasing awareness and concern over plastic polluting the oceans. This research explores the attitudes of shoppers who visit a range of supermarkets, finding support across the board for more reusable packaging and more action to tackle plastic pollution.

Previous Populus research shows that 91% of the UK public support the idea of having an entire aisle dedicated to the sale of products free of plastic packaging.  We have also found support for government policies encouraging more environmentally conscious practices in homes.

Our research for Greenpeace finds that:

  • 72% think supermarkets are not doing enough about plastic packaging to tackle the problem of plastic pollution
  • 84% find it difficult to avoid plastic packaging in their regular supermarket shop
  • 86% support the idea of supermarkets moving towards using more refillable and reusable packaging instead of using single use packaging
  • Fewer than a third of people (31%) think their regular supermarket has taken steps to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they sell, while 91% believe supermarkets should be working to reduce the amount of overall packaging they use
  • Over half of people (55%) say they would choose to shop at a supermarket which doesn’t over-package products


Commenting on these findings, Elena Polisano, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK said:

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such stark polling. When it comes to plastic pollution, Brits are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.

“People all across the UK are on the same page: ocean plastic pollution needs tackling and it is urgent that supermarkets take meaningful action to reduce their plastic footprint now. If I was the CEO of a supermarket looking at these figures I’d be making some pretty frantic phone calls right now.”

Greenpeace’s call for supermarkets to take action is supported by the fact that a third (33%) of those polled said they were likely to switch to a different supermarket that they feel is doing more to reduce their plastic use, including regular customers at Tesco (34%); Asda (32%); Sainsburys (30%); Morrisons (29%); Lidl (38%) and Aldi (37%)

Populus helps campaigning organisations including Greenpeace to gain reliable and accurate insight into the public’s views. In this instance, this included ensuring our sample was representative not only of the population as a whole, but also, specifically, of people’s supermarket preferences. For more information, see www.populus.co.uk


Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,062 UK adults aged 18+ online between 1 and 3 June 2018. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. The results included people who buy the majority of their food and groceries from the following supermarkets: Aldi 296, Asda 313, Lidl 136, Morrisons 259, Sainsbury’s 247, Tesco 617. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk

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