What consumers want

Understanding what information consumers respond to and how they behave is essential to get consumers recycling, more often.

For this reason, our labels and the work we do is underpinned by research. Our ‘What Consumers Want’ report draws on five major pieces of consumer insight research, including a study with over 5,000 UK consumers in Spring 2023, undertaken for OPRL Ltd by Tangible Branding, a consumer research company. Here are some of the key insights:

Consumers most frequently checkon-pack for recycling knowledge

Our research found consumers most frequently look on packaging for recycling information. They also regularly use information on their recycling box or bag, stickers on bins and council leaflets.

Q - Where do you get your knowledge about what you can recycle and how?

  • I rarely/never look for information
  • I used to look but don’t anymore
  • I look occasionally in case information has changed
  • I look occasionally when I’m not sure what to do
  • I regularly look for information

Consumers are confused with many recycling labels

Our research repeatedly shows consumers don’t understand all the labels which are printed on packaging and that people find multiple labels very confusing.

Consumers want clear and recognisable information at a glance. In their busy lives most people want a quick prompt as they decide which bin to put packaging in. They don’t want to stop to think about it, they’re looking for a strong visual cue to recycle or not recycle.

Q - Do you recognise and understand what each of these label mean?

  • I am very certain what this label means
  • I think I know what this label means but I'm not certain
  • I'm not sure what this label means

Recycling is still very important to consumers

As mentioned we carry out regular research to understand how consumers feel about recycling and our most recent survey has highlighted that despite the cost of living crisis, 96% of consumers say that recycling is just as or more important to them now than it was a year ago.

95% of consumers surveyed agreed that packaging should have a recycling label on, with the majority of them believing that the 2026 deadline for mandatory labelling is not soon enough.

Q - Do you believe that packaging should have a recycling label on it?

Why consumers recycle

Overwhelmingly, people want to ‘do their bit’ for the planet, their communities and future generations.

People need help to turn their good intentions into the right actions. But wanting to act responsibly and feeling equipped to make the right decision on every piece of packaging are very different things.

"I recycle because I think it's important to try to live as sustainability as possible to assist in safeguarding the planet for future generations."

"I hate waste... it is important to do what you can to save the planet... Not always sure what and how to do it though with some things, especially relating to food."