A recent YouGov poll commissioned by the British Plastics Federation (BPF) has found that just 2% of people believe that plastic packaging is the least damaging to the environment in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
According to the survey results, 68% of respondents indicated that they thought plastic packaging is the most damaging material when considering GHG emissions.
A number of studies have found that plastic is the best packaging material for helping to reduce GHG emissions. This is largely due to the reduced weight over alternatives, which helps to cut transport emissions.
Further, plastic helps to reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of products. Yet according to the survey, 37% of respondents did not agree that packaging is even necessary to increase product shelf life.
In response to the findings, director general of the BPF, Philip Law, said: “As society continues to learn to use plastic more intelligently and we improve our recycling infrastructure, it is vital that people do not think that ‘plastic free’ necessarily means ‘better for the environment’.
“In a world where a ‘climate catastrophe’ has been declared, it is extremely important that steps are taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic – and plastic packaging – plays a huge role in minimising these emissions and generally outperforms other materials in this respect.
“Our ambition is for far more people, the press and various other influencers to understand that plastic packaging makes a massive contribution to keeping down global warming.”
Plastic producers and lobby groups face an uphill battle to convince consumers of the benefits of plastic. The survey further found that 73% of respondents either ‘agree’ or strongly agree’ with the statement: I aim to buy packaging that is plastic free because I think it is better for the environment.
In an exclusive interview with PRW, published in the September/October issue, recently-appointed president of the BPF, Martin Althorpe, outlined how he wanted to counter the negative press surrounding plastics by putting forward the BPF as a clearing house for facts on plastic use and reuse.