The People Have Spoken: 85% of Brits believe food packaging should be compostable

Animated graphic of protests with sign saying "85% of Brits say compostables should replace plastics in food packaging"
  • 67% of UK consumers are concerned about increased plastic waste during lockdown, and 85% say compostable packaging should replace plastics
  • 69% of UK Consumers believe the food industry should lead move toward compostables, and 58% are prepared to pay more
  • Shift to compostable packaging set to be undermined by ‘perverse’ tax that treats it as conventional plastic from 2022

COVID-19 has raised concern among UK consumers about the amount of plastic waste disposed of during lockdown. A new ‘Populus’ poll released today (Wednesday 8 July) finds that 85% of respondents believe more compostable packaging should be used to wrap food as an alternative to plastic.

67% of respondents were concerned about increased plastic waste during lockdown. Asked to choose whether consumers, government or the food industry should take most responsibility for reducing the use of plastic in packaging, 69% of respondents thought the food industry should take a lead, with more than half (58%) answering that they are prepared to pay more for food wrapped in compostable materials.

The poll of 2,104 UK adults was commissioned by compostable flexible packaging company TIPA® to shed new light on how the UK’s relationship with plastic was impacted during the UK COVID-19 lockdown. The firm’s compostable materials have already been implemented by Waitrose, Ocado, and more, as part of their efforts to reduce conventional plastic in stores.

Compostable packaging can be disposed of through food waste schemes, which are due to be rolled out nationwide by 2023 and has a key role in addressing microplastic contamination in compost and soil.

In March 2020, a separate poll by ‘Survation’ revealed that 98% of MPs believe compostable packaging alternatives can be part of the solution to the plastic crisis. Despite strong parliamentary and public support for compostable materials, the UK government plans to treat compostables in the same way as conventional single-use plastic under its new plastic packaging tax.  Paving measures for the tax are set to be introduced in the Finance Bill this year.

Daphna Nissenbaum, CEO and co-founder of TIPA:

“The vast majority of UK consumers are concerned about increased plastic waste, and they are looking to the food industry and the government to empower them to buy sustainable alternatives, even if it costs more.

“While conventional plastics continue to endanger our oceans, wildlife, natural areas, and our health; compostable packaging can fully degrade and return to the earth safely. Despite crucial differences in the materials, compostables continue to be treated the same way as conventional plastic by UK legislation. A plastics tax which makes no distinction between the two will have a perverse effect, actively undermining efforts to shift toward compostable materials.

“The tax and the coming Environment Bill are both prime opportunities to support innovative, environmentally-friendly materials, but at the moment the UK government is missing the boat.

“Now is the time for decision-makers to show leadership, and encourage compostable packaging for the sake of the natural environment.”

David Newman, Managing Director of the Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association, added:

“The government wants councils across the country to collect food waste from 2023, but the success of these schemes depends on keeping conventional plastics out of food bins, and out of the soil.  The best way to do this is to ensure that compostable materials are used in food packaging, and in food waste bin liners, so that food and packaging can break down safely together.

“We know the UK is heavily polluting its food systems with (micro) plastics, and compostables can help stop this. We have a huge composting industry in the UK capable of treating these materials and already doing so in many places.

“Ministers should urgently recognise the role of compostable packaging in reducing non-recyclable plastic waste, by encouraging collection of compostable packaging with food so that materials like film can be safely and effectively composted.”


For more information, please contact:

Stephen Dillon

07720 610626

Notes to Editors:

About TIPA®

Inspired by nature, TIPA®’s compostable packaging solutions are designed to break down within months under composting conditions just like organic matter. TIPA® packaging provides solutions for the food and fashion industries, and is built to fit existing machinery and supply chains. The company’s packaging solutions are currently being implemented worldwide by leading global brands in Europe, Australia, and the US.

For more Information:


Populus is a leading research & strategy consultancy specialising in consumer, reputation, stakeholder and political research. We use polling, research, evidence and expertise to provide clients with the critical knowledge they need to make better decisions about their business, organisation or brand.

They are a founding member of the British Polling Council and abide by the Code of Conduct of the Market Research Society of Great Britain.


Survation is a leading market research and polling company. We are members of the British Polling Council and have a strong reputation for delivering results with high accuracy.

This includes being the most accurate poll of 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum and being the only member of the British Polling Council to successfully predict, across all modes, the outcome of both the 2017 and 2019 general elections


Full polling results are published on the TIPA website