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Consumers Would Skip 'Convenience Packaging' to Help the Environment: Study

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- Research from The Nielsen Co. here shows that more than half of U.S. consumers would give up all forms of convenience packaging if doing so would benefit the environment.

This includes packaging designed for easy stacking/storing at home (58 percent); packaging that can be used for cooking, or doubling as a re-sealable container (55 percent); and packaging designed for easy transport (53 percent), according to Nielsen’s PanelViews study of 65,000 U.S. households.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, Nielsen found that U.S. consumers are not as willing to give up packaging designed to keep products clean and untouched by other shoppers (26 percent); packaging designed to keep products in good condition (31 percent); packaging that preserves products to make them last longer and stay fresher (31 percent); and packaging information, including food labeling, cooking and usage instructions (33 percent).

One in 10 U.S. consumers is not prepared to give up any aspect of packaging for the benefit of the environment.

In eco-conscious countries, Nielsen’s packs@work studies show consumer preference for packaging that is recyclable, biodegradable, and safe for disposal - - using materials such as paper, cardboard and/or glass rather than plastic and polystyrene. Glass packaging, for example, is considered to be hygienic, inert, recyclable, tamper-proof, and potentially able to extend product life.

“We are starting to see some backlash against plastics that are not recyclable, or whose chemical composition may lead to tainting or degradation of product quality,” said Sethi.

Nielsen also said:
-- More than half of U.S. consumers claim to recycle cans, bottles and/or newspapers all the time, with 20 percent doing so “most of the time.”
-- Roughly 40 percent of consumers will sometimes think to look for products with less packaging.
-- Nearly 80 percent of consumers make a point of combining shopping trips to save gas most, if not all of the time.
-- Sixty percent of consumers buy used or refurbished products to reduce waste and materials consumption at least some of the time.
-- Nearly 60 percent make an effort to buy fruits and vegetables at a local farmers’ market.
-- Approximately two-thirds turn down their thermostats to conserve fuel most or all of the time.

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