Australians pip Kiwis when it comes to sustainable shopping

Packaging and recycling matter, but Australians are more prepared than Kiwis to vote with their wallet when it comes to sustainable packaging, according to a recent survey by TerraCycle.

When asked whether their shopping choices had been influenced by sustainable packaging materials, 58 per cent Australians said they had been strongly influenced compared to 50 per cent of New Zealanders. Both countries sat at 98% of respondents who said packaging had at least some influence on their choices.

The contrast was evident again when asked if they were willing to pay a higher price for a product that offered a recycling solution. In Australia, 90 per cent said they would, compared to 87 per cent in New Zealand, but 14 per cent of Aussies said they were prepared to pay significantly more compared to 8 per cent of Kiwis.

While TerraCycle offers free recycling for many products that aren’t accepted in kerbside recycling such as coffee capsules, disposable razors, toothbrushes and beauty products, there were clear winners in the wishlist of products for which consumers would like to see a brand sponsor a recycling program.

In both countries, the lids of drinks bottles (including wine and beer bottles) and medical blister packs were the top items people would like to be able to recycle. In a sign of the times, disposable masks and gloves were also high on the list.

In terms of how people would like to recycle, dropping items off at the shops or at a Community Collection Hub were the preferred methods (more than 70 per cent) in both countries.

General Manager of TerraCycle Australia and New Zealand said the survey findings matched that of other research into consumer trends.

“We know that consumers are starting to demand sustainability measures from brands, and will choose those who offer sustainable end-of-life solutions for the packaging and products over other brands.

“This year especially, after the bushfires and COVID, people are prepared to make an extra effort to protect the earth, and will seek out recycling and reuse options to prevent adding to landfills. The amount of enquiries we have had from brands looking for assistance reflects this,” he said.

“We also encourage anyone who would like to see a recycling program for a specific product to contact that brand. Consumer pressure is one of the strongest ways to change brand behaviour.”

For tips on how to contact brands, read our blog post How to be a community recycling champion.

About the survey: The survey was conducted via email and social media in Australia and New Zealand in September 2020. There were 1576 respondents in Australia and 373 in New Zealand. The majority of respondents were aged between 46-60, female, worked full-time in an office. They rated themselves in the middle of their sustainability journey.

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