When given the choice over packaging materials, consumers in Europe will more often than not select cardboard or paper packaging over the alternatives.

This is one of the findings in the latest survey conducted by campaign Two Sides, which was established to help the graphic communications supply chain to dispel common environmental misconceptions and promote the sustainability of packaging materials such as cardboard and paper.

In its most recent survey of nearly 6,000 people from nine European countries, paper and cardboard packaging was named by consumers as being the most sustainable. 62 per cent of those questioned felt it was better for the environment, while 72 per cent like the fact that it’s home compostable.

What’s more, European consumers believe that card and paper packaging is the most recycled on the continent, with 30 per cent believing that the European recycling rate of this type of packaging is over 65 per cent.

In actual fact, the recycling rate for paper and cardboard is 85 per cent in Europe, which does make it the most recycled material. Metallic packaging, such as cans, has a recycling rate of 80 per cent, for instance, while plastic packaging has a recycling rate of just 42 per cent.

There’s also a clear preference among European consumers for the goods that they order online to be delivered in card or paper packaging. Two-thirds of those questioned said that they prefer card or paper packaging to plastic packaging.

What’s more, some 70 per cent of consumers are actively taking steps to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they use, which means they are likely to be checking what kind of packaging companies use not only for their products, but also for their shipping and distribution.

Almost half (46 per cent) of the consumers surveyed said that they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they “now buy more from retailers who are removing plastic from their packaging”.

A similar percentage (48 per cent) said they would also consider avoiding a retailer that wasn’t taking steps to actively reduce their non-recyclable plastic packaging.

Managing director of Two Sides Europe Jonathan Tame commented: “Consumers are becoming more aware of the packaging choices of the items they buy, which in turn is applying pressure on businesses – particularly in retail. The culture of ‘make, use, dispose’ is slowly changing.”

This research highlights why more businesses should consider using cardboard or paper packaging for their products where it’s appropriate to do so. In April, we looked at some of the main reasons to consider switching to cardboard packaging, if you haven’t already.

As well as the clear consumer preference for packaging that’s sustainable and recyclable, cardboard is also versatile from a business perspective, in that it can easily be printed on and therefore branded.  

You can also customise it to suit your needs and it can look great whether it’s on a shop shelf, being sent via the post or even sitting in someone’s home.

If you’re looking for printed cardboard cartons for your business, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.