Recyclability Now A 'Must-Have' For European Consumers, Study Finds

By Dayeeta Das
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Recyclability Now A 'Must-Have' For European Consumers, Study Finds

A majority (84%) of European consumers seek recycling instructions on packaged products, while 60% say that recyclability instructions and sustainability logos positively influence their purchase decision, a new study by Amcor has unveiled.

The study included 3,000 consumers in UK, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and Poland, and found that recyclability is now a 'must-have' in the eyes of consumers.

Since the start of the pandemic, a significant rise in concern over global warming was seen across European markets.

This highlights the need for brands and retailers to reduce their environmental impact by switching to more sustainable packaging, the study noted.

"As consumers become more aware of the environmental implications of their purchasing decisions, is it vital that consumer-facing brands and retailers take action," explained Gerald Rebitzer, sustainability director at Amcor for EMEA.


"Adopting more sustainable packaging – such as moving to recycle-ready solutions and including post-consumer recycled content in place of virgin resources – are key for brands to demonstrate their commitment to drive circularity, reduce their carbon footprint, and help consumers buy more sustainably."

Sustainability Logos

While there is a high understanding of recyclability logos, almost 80% of consumers in Europe do not understand what most other sustainability logos mean.

The survey found that only 5% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product based on sustainability logos alone.

This figure rises to 20% when the logo includes a written explanation.


This phenomenon is supported by the European Commissions’ Green Claims Directive, which found over 230 sustainability labels across Europe, contributing to consumer confusion.

Rebitzer added, "Since 2018, Amcor has been working towards our pledge to design all our packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. In 2022, we announced that 83% of our global flexible packaging portfolio now has a recycle-ready alternative.

"Our commitment to recyclable packaging aligns with the need for expanding recycling infrastructure and supports the direction of the upcoming PPWR. This research further highlights the need for more sustainable packaging to support a growing circular economy while meeting consumer expectations."

Other Findings

The study found global warming as the top environmental concern for 52% of European consumers, compared to 45% in early 2020.


Plastic pollution emerged as the top environmental concern for a fifth of European consumers (21%), down from 32% in 2020.

The highest levels of environmental concern was seen in Italy, with 62% of consumers worrying about global warming - a 17% increase since 2020.

The study also found that 96% of Italian consumers check recyclability instructions before buying a product.

In the UK, the understanding of recyclability logos has risen to 94% from 86% in 2020.


According to the study, paper is the third highest sustainability claim likely to positively influence purchasing behaviour.

Consumers understand what to do with paper because paper recycling streams are widespread across Europe today, meeting consumers’ desire to act, the study noted.

The European Commission’s draft Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) would make recycle-ready packaging mandatory from 2030, along with requirements to use a minimum percentage of recycled content in all plastic packaging.

© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest packaging news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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