Resource Use

Majority of Britons concerned about plastic as Zero Waste Week begins

Four out of five Britons are concerned about rising levels of single-use plastic consumption in the UK, according to a new poll, as this year’s Zero Waste Week (3-7 September) focuses on the issue of disposable plastics.

A recent survey of 2,090 adults in the UK, commissioned by Zero Waste Week – now in its eleventh year – and carried out by Populus, revealed increasing anxiety amongst the general population regarding single-use plastics.

Of those surveyed, 80 per cent stated that they were ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the levels of single-use plastics generated in the UK, with only two per cent saying they ‘weren’t concerned at at all’, three per cent saying they ‘weren’t very concerned’ and 15 per cent saying they were ‘neither concerned nor unconcerned’.

In terms of the attitudes of different demographics, despite the supposedly typical concern of millenials for the environment, it is in fact pensioners that are more likely to be concerned about single-use plastics, with 87 per cent of people aged 65 and over being very or fairly concerned about levels of plastics, more than any other age group.Majority of Britons concerned about plastic as Zero Waste Week begins

Meanwhile, people in South-East England are most likely to express concern over the levels of single-use plastics (83 per cent), compared with those in Yorkshire and Humberside (70 per cent), who are the least likely, while men and women are equally concerned, with 80 per cent of women and 79 per cent of men expressing concern.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Zero Waste Week Founder Rachelle Strauss said: “It’s clear that the Great British public is growing more and more concerned by the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfill or at the bottom of the ocean.

“This year millions of people around the world are coming together to rethink our over-consumption of single-use plastics, look for alternatives and increase pressure on manufacturers and suppliers for more sustainable solutions.

“It’s vital that businesses, governments and citizens come together in a bid to call time on the ticking time-bomb that our over-consumption of single-use plastics is having.”

Zero Waste Week 2018

Founded in 2008, Zero Waste Week aims to encourage people to reduce their consumption and the amount of waste they produce by making small changes to their everyday lives and routines.

The campaign takes place almost exclusively online through the Zero Waste Week website, online newsletters and social media, and offers participants the benefits of learning new skills, saving money, building confidence, improving their wellbeing and preserving the world’s resources.

Since its launch, the campaign has accrued a vast network of followers from across the globe, claiming to have reach more than 56 million people in 73 countries around the world. To further the campaign’s international reach, a series of pages have been set up for zero waste representatives in different countries to post information relevant to Zero Waste Week in their native language.

The campaign has also been recognised for its work by the government, with Prime Minister Theresa May recently naming founder Rachelle Strauss a ‘Point of Light’ – an award given to outstanding individual volunteers making positive changes in their communities – for Zero Waste Week’s role in promoting waste reduction. The issue of waste has been placed firmly at the heart of the government’s environment agenda since the publication of its flagship 25 Year Environment Plan, which pledged to eliminate ‘avoidable’ plastic by 2042.

This year’s theme for Zero Waste Week 2018 is ‘Plastic – Unwrapped!’, which seeks to encourage people to reduce the amount of plastic waste they produce. A number of events will be running throughout the week (though not necessarily organised by Zero Waste Week), including an hour-long edition of the #EthicalHour tweetchat on 3 September (8-9pm) co-hosted by Rachelle Strauss and #EthicalHour founder Sian Conway, to launch Zero Waste Week.

In addition to this, the Zero Waste Week website will be full of hints, tips and resources for those wishing to cut down on their waste, with individuals, businesses, education establishments and local authorities all being targeted.

To find out more about Zero Waste Week and to find out how you can get involved, visit the Zero Waste Week website or search the #ZeroWasteWeek hashtag on Twitter.

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