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The Hidden Cost of Grocery Packaging

Consumers in Scotland are buying more than 300,000 tonnes of single-use packaging for their groceries every year. 

All this single-use packaging doesn’t just come at a cost to the environment. It also costs Scottish households, which collectively pay an estimated £600 million annually, a significant spend which is hidden within the overall price of their groceries.

This means that the average Scottish household buys 130kg of single-use grocery packaging each year, at a cost of almost £250 - or 7% of the average annual grocery bill. 

In addition, Scots also pay around £40 million a year in waste management costs incurred by local authorities which must deal with this single-use packaging once it has been disposed of.

Behavioural science shows that consumers will seek to avoid packaging if the cost of that packaging is clear. In most cases however, the cost of packaging is not evident in the price of packaged goods, meaning consumers don’t receive a clear price signal.

If consumers were more aware of the unseen cost of grocery packaging, would there be more demand for reusable packaging, and packaging-free alternatives?

Our report, 'The Hidden Cost of Grocery Packaging'

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