77% of UK consumers hold supermarkets and manufacturers responsible for plastic pollution

Study finds microplastics in humans

The notion of sustainability has become a huge concern for supermarkets across the country, due to growing consumer demand for conscious shopping. According to Pi Datametrics, one of the main trends that emerged from last year was sustainable consumption.

Increasingly, people are making decisions to buy and use longer-lasting materials and products that have less damaging effects on the environment. Over the last year, there has been a reported 137% growth in “alternative to single-use” search terms. Additionally, people have made increasingly frequent “near me” searches in relation to sustainable retail; over the past three years, “plastic-free shops near me” searches have grown 1,774,900%, and “zero-waste stores” has also seen a 4,470% rise.

According to Greenpeace, UK supermarkets are responsible for 58 billion pieces of plastic a year, and this number may have grown due to the larger number of people buying products to cook from home during lockdown. Especially in a post-coronavirus climate, it remains incredibly important that retailers are able to prioritise sustainability while also maintaining safety protocols.

Ubamarket – an app pioneering in retail technology – has commissioned nationally representative research that showcases why environmental awareness has become such a concern for retailers as of late:

  • 82% – nearly 43 million – of UK shoppers believe the level of plastic packaging on food and drink products needs to be changed drastically
  • 57%, or 30 million, think that plastic pollution is the single greatest threat to life and the environment in modern history
  • 77% of Brits, representing more than 40 million nationally, state that no matter how much they recycle, it is the manufacturers and supermarkets that are causing the most plastic pollution

Will Broome, CEO and founder of Ubamarket, commented: “With the retail sector now fully reopen and functioning, it is now of utmost importance that retailers maintain a safe environment while making more sustainable advancements. In a post-coronavirus climate, sustainability is essential for retailers that want to prosper, as we move and develop into a more environmentally conscious society.

“By implementing mobile technology, such as that provided by Ubamarket, retailers will be able to get ahead of the curve; it can improve in-store safety and efficiency while also providing access to useful data for the retailer. Furthermore, Ubamarket’s Plastic Alerts feature displays the plastic content of all scanned items, allowing customers to shop according to the recyclability and environmental footprint of different products. It also enables the customer to scan packaging for information on whether it can be widely recycled or not.

It is my hope that we see more sustainability initiatives in the coming weeks and months, and I strongly encourage retailers to look into the benefits of mobile technology, for sustainability and increased success.”

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