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The Trend Tracker Survey 2023, the latest consumer research from Two Sides Europe, seeks to understand changing perceptions towards print, paper, paper-based packaging and tissue products. The survey questioned more than 10,000 consumers in 16 countries across the world.

As the number of consumers purchasing goods online continues to grow, awareness of packaging choices and attention to the environmental impacts of materials are increasing too. Survey results show that more people believe paper-based packaging is better for the environment than all other packaging materials.


Packaging plays an extremely important part in the purchasing decision, as it displays vital product information and is used to preserve, protect and enhance quality. Consumers were asked to choose their preferred packaging material based on a range of environmental, visual and physical attributes. These were paper/cardboard, plastic, glass and metal. Out of 15 attributes, paper/cardboard was the favourite for 10. Paper/cardboard was positioned best for environmental factors like home compostable (76%), better for the environment (55%) and easier to recycle (49%).

In Europe, 82% of paper packaging is recycled, the highest rate of any material. Glass has a recycling rate of 76%, metal 76% and plastic just 38% [Eurostat, 2020]. When looking at the types of shopping bags available, consumers believe that paper bags have the best attributes for composability (64%), recyclability (55%), and that they are made with renewable materials (38%).


With consumers, businesses and governments looking for ways to reduce waste and create a more circular economy, non-recyclable, single-use packaging and its effects have come into sharp focus.

Consumers also believe the government needs to do more to reduce the use of single-use, non-recyclable packaging. When asked to rank who they believe has the most responsibility for reducing the use of non-recyclable packaging, 39% said governments and local authorities. This is a big change in consumer thinking compared to 2021, when they ranked the individual (your personal choices), as the most responsible at 33%. That said, 19% of consumers believe the individual is also responsible for reducing single-use non-recyclable packaging.

Two Sides is a not-for-profit global initiative promoting the unique, sustainable and attractive attributes of print, paper and paper packaging. For more information, visit twosides.info.

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