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More than Half of Americans Concerned with Climate Change and Plastic Waste, Research Reveals

Press release from the issuing company

Pandemic Fuels American’s Climate Change Fears

WHAT: A study by Toluna, a tech company operating in the market research space, on American’s attitudes about the environment and sustainability. The study surveyed 1,000 people in the US.


Climate change (56%) and plastic waste (50%) weigh heavily on Americans when it comes to concerns on environmental/sustainability issues. Other top contenders include food waste (47%), animal welfare (46%), deforestation (38%) and carbon emissions (34%). As a result of the pandemic, Americans became more concerned about climate change (46%).

Packaging Fears
Most Americans (58%) are concerned with plastic packaging and avoid (68%) buying these items. Although one third of respondents feel it’s easier to shop plastic free than it was five years ago, 43% find there aren’t enough plastic-free options available while 42% find that plastic-free is more expensive. Other barriers to buying food and drink packaged in plastic include: 32% find plastic alternatives aren’t as durable as plastic; 27% find food and drink products are more prone to damage; and 26% find perishable items don’t’ last as long in plastic alternative packaging. A majority of respondents (63%) would switch to plastic-free options if they were available.

Who is responsible for reducing plastic? Most feel that plastic reduction falls on brands/manufacturers (62%), everyday people (59%), supermarkets/retailers (49%) and government (43%), respectively. And while one-fourth feel that supermarkets have made a done a good job with tackling plastic, 41% feel they’d like to see more progress.

Here are the top issues surrounding plastic packaging:

Plastic pollution in oceans 57%
Plastic pollution on land 51%
Lack of incentive to recycle 46%
Lack of recycling facilities available 39%
Lack of available of alternative packaging to plastic 37%
Environmental cost to produce plastic 34%
Plastic alternatives not being affordable 33%

Got milk

While more than half of Americans have reduced the amount of dairy intake as a result of their environmental concerns and 43% claim they are buying more plant based alternatives, Americans overwhelmingly love “real” milk products – with more than half saying there is no substitute for cheese and ice cream.

Cheese (64%) vs. alternative (13%)
Ice cream (56%) vs. alternative (14%)
Yogurt (50%) vs. alternative (12%)
Butter (55%) vs. (15%)
Milk (49%) vs. alternative (17%)

66% believe the US dairy industry is sustainable, with 47% saying that dairy alternatives are more sustainable than regular dairy. Here’s how Americans rank dairy products and their sustainability:

Almond milk (64%)
Traditional cow’s milk (56%)
Oat milk (50%)
Coconut milk (55%)
Rice milk (37%)

Toluna is the parent company of Harris Interactive Europe and KuRunData. Together, we strive to push market research toward a better tomorrow. https://www.tolunacorporate.com/ 


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