The demands and expectations of consumers when it comes to sustainability are not suffering from the Corona crisis.
This is shown by a current study by the German Packaging Institute (DVI) and the environmental protection organization WWF.
"Of course, people are currently consuming differently," says DVI Managing Director Kim Cheng.
Through delivery services, take-away and online trading, households also generate much more packaging waste.
The waste management industry is already talking about five to ten percent more waste in the yellow bin alone.
“The majority of consumers are concerned about the type of packaging,” reports Cheng.
Take food and drinks, for example: Around two thirds of the 1000 respondents want sustainable packaging, be it deposit containers, boxes and cups that you have brought yourself or at least one-way packaging that can be recycled.
If you only evaluate the responses from consumers who actually use delivery services or pick up food in a restaurant, the corresponding value is almost 80 percent.
"The figures show that the clear majority is concerned and prefers ecological variants," says Cheng.
Reusable packaging and deposit for food to go planned
Food to go is the lifeline for many catering establishments, especially in times of Corona.
But this also increases the consumption of packaging material.
The Federal Environment Ministry doesn't like that at all.
Source: WELT / Eybe Ahlers
The subject of deposits in particular is gaining momentum.
According to the survey, 85 percent of German citizens would like deposit systems to be expanded beyond common areas of application such as water, beer and soft drinks.
That is another five percentage points more than in a comparable survey in February 2020, i.e. from the time before the start of the corona pandemic in Germany.
First and foremost, the deposit fans, who were also able to answer multiple questions, think of all beverage packaging, regardless of the content.
At present, juice and milk or wine, sparkling wine and spirits are exempt from deposits in this country.
The Federal Environment Ministry is already striving to make changes here as part of an amendment to the Packaging Act.
In addition, around 40 percent of those surveyed could also imagine a deposit system for hygiene and personal care products as well as for detergents and cleaning agents.
Almost 30 percent in each case also advocate a deposit system for dry food such as pasta and rice, but also for coffee and tea and even for cheese and sausage packaging.
Only eight percent of the survey participants reject an expansion because returning it to the deposit machine is too unhygienic or too costly for them.
Source: WORLD infographic
The WWF is pleased and impressed that despite Corona, consumers are dealing with the topic of packaging and want sustainable offers.
"Perhaps Corona is even a driver," says Martin Bethke, Director Markets & Companies at WWF Germany.
Because the corona crisis has shown in recent months how interlinked the world is now and what is related to what - the pandemic, for example, with zoonoses due to the concentration of habitats, but also with the climate crisis.
"That drives people and creates a completely different reflection," says Bethke.
"Therefore, there is a growing awareness that ecology and economy belong together and that an attitude towards sustainability is based on this."
Bethke knows that there is always a discrepancy between aspiration and reality.
“Most of them are clearly in favor of sustainability, if you ask them.” The number of people involved is increasing and the gap between word and deed is narrowing.
As evidence, Bethke cites an increasing number of members and donations for the WWF.
“On the other hand, there are more and more companies that ask us and want advice on how they can become more sustainable because their customers demand that,” reports the expert.
The number of initiatives is increasing accordingly.
The drugstore chain dm, for example, is currently testing refill stations for Nivea shampoo in some branches together with Beiersdorf.
The health food chain Alnatura, on the other hand, has been offering various nuts, teas, muesli and lentils, rice and ketchup in deposit jars for several months.