Unilever pledges to halve use of new plastics

21.6 million Brits believe that plastic packaging is having an adverse effect on their health

Research from retail tech app Ubamarket reveals the nation’s sentiments towards packaging and plastic waste





Unilever, which owns brands such as Surf and PG Tips, says it plans to halve the amount of new plastic it uses in a bid to appeal to younger shoppers. The firm is currently responsible for producing 700,000 tonnes of new plastic a year. But Unilever plans to slash that figure over the next five years by using more recycled plastic and finding other alternative materials. As concern grows about the impact of plastic use on the environment, manufacturers and retailers have begun to make steps to reduce their use of plastic.

Ubamarket, the innovative retail app, has commissioned nationally representative research across a sample of 2003 UK adults to find out how Brits feel about plastic packaging in our supermarkets. This research is released alongside Ubamarket’s feature ‘Plastic Alerts’, a new industry first that allows supermarket shoppers to easily identify the most environmentally friendly products.

  • 82% – nearly 43 million – of UK shoppers believe the level of plastic packaging on food and drink products needs to be changed drastically
  • 77% of Brits, representing more than 40 million nationally, think that, no matter how much they recycle, they feel it is the manufactures and supermarkets that are causing the most plastic pollution
  • 44% of respondents, representing 23 million nationally, actively purchased products that have less of an impact on the environment, even if they were more expensive
  • 42% – 21.7 million nationally – of the British public want to be more environmentally conscious but feel they do not know enough about recycling and plastic pollution to make informed changes
  • 41% of respondents, representing 21.6 million nationally, believe that plastic packaging is having an adverse effect on their health
  • 65%, or 33.8 million nationally, want to make the switch to more environmentally friendly products but feel that these products are often significantly more expensive

Today’s announcement does show that are making a concerted effort to reform as this year has been filled with concern for the levels of plastic waste that are being produced. Consumers have been placing the pressure on retailers to reform and give them a wider range of plastic-free alternatives on offer in stores.

Will Broome, CEO and Founder of Ubamarket, commented on the Unilever’s announcement, “It is clear that British consumers are more aware of plastic use and pollution than ever before, and it is great to see that more retailers and manufacturers are making positive steps in the right direction. According to Ubamarket’s latest research, over 80% of us think food and drink packaging needs to drastically change, but 42% of Brits don’t feel informed enough about recycling to make the right purchases. New forms of plastics and packaging, along with the right education, if adopted by retailers, will help cement the UK as a driving force in sustainability and reduce our single-use reliance drastically in the coming years.”