New research* with UK consumers by Aquapak, a speciality polymers business that develops materials intended to enable a circular economy, reveals that more than half (52%) would be prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly packaging when they buy clothes and accessories.

The findings highlighted consumers’ commitment to a move toward planet-friendly packaging.  Of those prepared to pay more, one third said they would pay an additional 1% to 4% of the purchase price of their goods to receive them in sustainable packaging, almost two fifths (39%) said they would pay a 5% premium. Eight percent said they would pay between 6% and 9% more and 15% said they would be prepared to pay between 10% and 20% more. This means that on an average online order of £66.80**, a 5% premium of £3.34 gives scope for brands to optimize their circularity while retaining their margins and making the use of environmentally friendly packaging commercially viable.

The survey also showed that despite some efforts by the industry to move away from single-use plastic packaging, the majority of those surveyed (76%) do not think fashion brands are doing enough to reduce its use and move to other types of packaging. More than two thirds (67%) said that they want to see greater use of paper-based packaging which can go into curbside recycling collections, 54% said that they want brands to stop using single-use plastic completely. When asked about “better than now” options, 57% would like single-use plastic garment bags to be replaced with those which can be dissolved in washing up water or the dishwasher without harming the marine environment.

However, despite consumers’ frustrations with the recyclability of packaging used by fashion brands, most (61%) felt that it was on a par with other industries such as food and drink, household products, cosmetics and toiletries. One third thought it was worse and just 6% said it was better when it came to environmentally friendly packaging.

Mark Lapping, chief executive officer of Aquapak, says, “Our research shines a light on the appetite for more sustainable packaging from consumers, and more which is paper based. The good news is that new technologies exist to improve the functionality of paper packaging, particularly for e-commerce, so that it can provide the product protection needed, whilst retaining the ability to fully recover and reuse the paper fibers. The industry needs to collaborate to make these mainstream options by increasing the use of novel materials that enable the design of recyclable packaging for the circular economy.”


*Research conducted by Consumer Intelligence with 1022 UK consumers in January 2022

** The average order value (AOV) of online shopping orders that came through mobile phones was 66.8 British pounds during the third quarter of 2020,mobile%20users%2C%20being%2066.8%20pounds