While the circular economy law enters the final stage, that the European Commission is soon to adopt “guidelines” on what the provisions of the single-use plastics mean in practice. The coming weeks will be key for the sectors of packaging and waste management in France. In order to appreciate the French consumer habits and expectations in terms of waste and packaging management, TIPA publishes today the results of a survey (via IPSOS) of 1000 French consumers.   

Consumers are open to compostable alternatives for necessary food packaging, and already incorporate or are willing to incorporate it into organic waste disposal. 

90% of polled consider compostable packaging to be a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional plastic packaging, 89% think that more food should be packaged in fully compostable packaging as an alternative to plastic, and 65% of those surveyed are prepared to pay more for a product to be wrapped in compostable packaging (including nearly a quarter (23%) saying they are prepared to pay 3 to 5% more). 

On the question of being able toincorporate compostable packaging with food waste in home compost, 88% of consumers declared already doing it or willing to do it. Similar results emerge when asked about including compostable packaging waste in their existing or future separate collection of bio-waste, and 89% of polled are already including or willing to include compostable packaging in organic waste collection.  

This habit seems to have increased since 2018, when 79% of polled said they were ready to consider and treat compostable packaging as organic waste

French consumers already sort their waste and compost; are willing to do so more, and ask to be better informed. 93% of the French people questioned said they sort their household waste, and 45% compost.  

89% of French people would use compost if they were given the means to do so. In fact, a third of those surveyed do not compost due to lack of space, infrastructure, etc., but would like to be able to do so.  

More than half of the respondents also declared that they do not know it will be compulsory for them to sort their organic waste in a dedicated bin (brown bin) at latest by 01/01/2024. More and more municipalities are implementing biowaste collection, with 17% of polled already declaring that collection has been implemented in their town. While positively welcoming the news, 54% of French consumers polled ask to be better informed about biowaste collection. 

There is evidence that French consumers are not fully aware of what happens to their plastic waste when sorted for recycling. For example, when asked what happens to their flexible plastic packaging* once sorted in the yellow bin, the answers are far from covering reality. For example, 41% think that this packaging is recycled when in reality, only 4% of flexible packaging (i.e. excluding PET) is recycled (Citeo, 2020).  

Consumers are concerned about the increase in plastic packaging in times of lockdowns and are asking for more effort from brands. 

76% of French people are concerned about the increase in plastic waste during lockdowns and its impact on the environment. The majority of French consumers are not satisfied with the efforts made by brands to reduce the amount of packaging around their products. Thus, on a given satisfaction scale from 1 to 10, the respondents showed their dissatisfaction, and gave only an average score of 3.9 (33% of the panel giving a score of 2 or less). 

When asked a similar question in 2018; 83% agreed that the retail industry was not doing enough to fight the plastic waste issue

Those results show that French people are ready – and already started – to change their habits in terms of waste management. In fact, maybe French people are even more ready than their British neighbours: according to the similar study carried out by TIPA in the UK in July, 69% of UK consumers believe more food should be packed in compostable packaging when they are 89% to think so in France. Also French people are even more willing than the British to pay more for food products wrapped in compostable packaging. Those results also confirmed us that the French public is looking for sustainable solutions, and only for necessary packaging”, concludes Daphna Nissenbaum, co-founder of TIPA corp.” 

For more information go to www.tipa-corp.com

Written by Kevin Gambrill