Australians call for all packaging to be recyclable

Days out from Christmas, Veolia’s latest research reveals that 80% of Australians say the composition of a product's packaging impacts their purchasing behaviours. Consumers say they favour items that are recyclable and that they are prepared to pay more for those products, if it means they do not end up in landfills.

The national YouGov survey, commissioned by Veolia, gave some reassuring insights to consumer purchasing behaviours and their expectations of manufacturers when it comes to end-of-life solutions for packaging products. 

The statistics show:

  • 80% of Australians say the composition of packaging impacts their purchasing behaviours.
  • More than half of the population (62%) say they would be willing to pay more for everyday consumables if it meant the packaging did not end up in landfill.
  • 89% of people think manufacturers should be required to use product packaging that is recyclable.

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s Chief Executive Officer, believes these results endorse the call for a ‘pay as you buy’ strategy where those buying recyclable packaging pay less, putting the power back in consumer hands. 

“More than half of the population (64%) say knowing what and how to recycle is confusing, so it’s not surprising they want all packaging to be recyclable - especially at a time when we have to dispose of more packaging than normal,” he said.

Mr Kirkman has long advocated for a ‘pay as you buy’ system which asks the entire packaging supply chain to pivot in response to consumer appetite and the environmental agenda. 

Similar to the approach taken for Australia’s container deposit scheme, Richard says, the cost of ensuring items can be recycled and recovered is that we work together to change the status quo. 

“We all need to act. Manufacturers need to make products that are recyclable, retailers need to label them consistently, local authorities need to harmonise collections, and the waste sector needs to invest in recycling infrastructure. The upside of the Pay as you buy approach is that it’s cost neutral - potentially cheaper than what we do now,” he said.

As we count down to a new year, Richard said the time for change is now.  

“We know that getting recycling right is integral to reducing the amount of waste that unnecessarily goes to landfill and in reaching the federal government’s emissions reduction targets, improving our environment and reducing the cost of living”. 

“With these recent survey results, we know that consumers support bold policies that keep-up with Australia’s rate of consumption and help to accelerate the path to ecological transformation,” he concluded. 


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov. Total sample size was 1,060 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2 and 7 November 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).


Further Reading

Explore our waste and recycling services

Read about ANZPAC's roadmap for plastic management

Read about the latest key policy and regulatory updates relevant to the environment



Dan Pagoda, external relations manager | +61 408 753 982 | [email protected]

Veolia Group aims to become the benchmark company for ecological transformation. Present on 5 continents with nearly 220,000 employees, the group designs and deploys useful, practical solutions for the management of water, waste and energy that are contributing to a radical turnaround of the current situation. Through its 3 complementary activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, to preserve available resources and to renew them. In 2021, the Veolia Group provided 79 million inhabitants with drinking water and 61 million with sanitation, produced nearly 48 million megawatt hours of energy and recovered 48 million tonnes of waste. Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE) achieved consolidated revenue of 28.508 billion euros in 2021.

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