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Survey finds we aren't giving up convenience of single-use plastics

Last Updated Nov 21, 2019 at 9:10 am PDT

Garbage and pollution on a tropical beach. GETTY IMAGES

A new survey finds British Columbians talk the talk but don't always walk the walk when it comes to single-use plastics

Despite near universal support for a proposed federal ban on single-use, throw-away plastics, not enough has been done

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You may feel good about toting your travel mug along on your commute every morning, but when was the last time you ordered take-out food or something online?

A new survey finds British Columbians have strong feelings about banning single-use plastics but that our actions don’t always match our words.

“We found 88 per cent of British Columbians expressed concern about the environmental impact of single-use and, in fact, 51 per cent say they are very concerned,” says Steve Mossop with Insights West.

“And more than that, support for a ban is universal almost across the board. We have 81 per cent who are supporting the proposed federal ban on single use plastics, and you just don’t see numbers that high very often on anything,” he tells NEWS 1130. “British Columbians tend to be opposed to a lot of things but this is a very stunning result.”

However, Mossop suggests convenience still trumps conscience in some areas.

While a majority of respondents say they frequently use reusable shopping bags, water bottles and coffee mugs, British Columbians could do a lot more to change their environmental behaviours and actions.

“We have things like ordering takeout food and not being concerned about the plastic — that’s about 60 per cent of British Columbians. And then we have ordering items online to be delivered to our home, which is rife with plastic packaging — that’s 57 per cent. It’s really a split down the middle in terms of the activities and behaviours that British Columbians are willing to do versus that universal concern that people have,” Mossop explains.

Meanwhile, a holiday spending survey for Accenture finds green-minded consumers are opting for more environmentally-friendly shopping where they can.

“Almost half (47 per cent) of Canadian consumers — and even more younger millennials (58 per cent) — who said they were aware of the environmental impact of faster shipping said they will choose greener options, such as in-store pickup or ground transportation instead of air,” the survey reads. “An additional 23 per cent who said they were unaware of the environmental impact of faster shipping now plan to opt for greener options this holiday season.”

An additional two-thirds of Canadian consumers polled say they want to see retailers lead the charge and offer packaging-free products and deliveries.