Stora Enso has released the findings of a comprehensive consumer research study that sheds light on European consumers’ perceptions of reusable packaging.
The study, conducted by Stora Enso’s Packaging Materials division, revealed a nuanced perspective among European consumers, with the majority holding a positive view of reusable packaging.
However, significant concerns regarding packaging cleanliness and a lack of full understanding of the concept have emerged as potential roadblocks to widespread adoption.
The research, which involved over 7,000 consumers aged between 18 and 64 across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Sweden, showed that 77% of European consumers express a favourable view of reusable packaging.
While this indicates an overall positive sentiment, only 30% of respondents fully grasp the concept, highlighting the need for education and clarity around these sustainable packaging solutions.
A learning curve
One of the key challenges facing brand owners and retailers is consumer confusion regarding how reusable packaging functions.
Respondents exhibited uncertainty regarding whether reusing occurs at home or at retailer refill stations. This lack of clarity presents a significant hurdle to the broader acceptance of reusable packaging.
Moreover, a significant concern that emerged from the study is packaging cleanliness. A whopping 78% of respondents stated they would worry about hygiene if a product was packaged in a reusable container. This apprehension may stem from uncertainties about how efficiently such containers are cleaned and maintained.
Simplifying the process
Another barrier to adoption is the perception that returning packaging to the point of purchase is too much effort. Approximately 22% of participants agreed with this sentiment, indicating a need for more convenient and user-friendly systems for returning and refilling reusable packaging.
In contrast, the research also highlights that recyclable carton packaging solutions are a preferred option for many consumers. Over half of the respondents (51%) favoured this material due to its recyclability, while 52% found it easy to recycle.
Interestingly, 75% of consumers viewed recycling packaging as a form of reuse, particularly when it comes to everyday items that are recycled at scale, such as paper.
This study suggests that European consumers are open to the concept of reusable packaging, but significant challenges remain. Brand owners and retailers must address concerns related to packaging cleanliness, convenience and consumer education to further promote sustainable and circular packaging solutions.
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