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Which customers are helping to manage plastic waste?

Christmas time is upon us! The lights are twinkling, the decorations are adorned and present-buying has begun. But with all the festivities in full swing, we can sometimes be guilty of turning our attention away from the big pile of waste that builds up by the rubbish bins. There is an estimated 30% added influx of waste at Christmas and an extra 100 million black bags filled with packaging and unwanted gifts at the end of the season.

Keeping waste to a minimum can be a challenge. Here at Starcount, we’ve taken a long hard look into consumer mindsets towards waste and recycling. The data scientists have made a list and checked it twice, so let’s see who is contributing the most towards managing plastic pollution.

What the data is telling us is that, as expected the younger audience of 18-30-year-olds use fewer plastic bags when shopping than their 31-50-year-old counterparts. What is more surprising, is that 51-90-year-olds use far fewer bags per visit than both groups (17% of transactions compared with 23% for 31 – 50-year-olds). Younger people have tended to shout the loudest about the climate crisis but perhaps they need to be more organised when it comes to plastic management?

Starcount’s research has also shown that plastic bag usage depends on what customers are purchasing. Customers who are shopping for clothing are twice as likely to ask for a bag than customers purchasing food. Specific groceries also seem to warrant a new bag – those customers purchasing ready meals tend to buy more plastic bags than regular grocery shoppers. 

Overall, plastic bag usage has declined since 2016, from 26.4% of customers per transaction to 20.6%. For retailers looking to encourage their customers to go plastic-free these stats can be used to inform future campaigns, so get in touch to learn more team@starcount.com 

Many companies have partnered with and shown support for pioneering new startups such as Ocean Bottle and ODDBOX to help curb the waste problem, the UK Government has also announced they will support the target to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030. These are positive developments but a lot more work needs to be done! According to the IEA, the amount of plastic being produced and discarded will double by 2030. It is so important that both consumers and retailers work together to spread awareness of the issue and tackle the problem. So watch out this Christmas, and make sure you get the recycling done! 

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