Lancaster University - Transforming Tomorrow

Transforming Tomorrow 12 Plastic Packaging in People’s Lives (PPiPL) Through the Plastic Packaging in People's Lives (PPiPL) project, our members are addressing one of themost visible environmental issues of our time. There is a longstanding public conversation about the environmental and societal impacts of plastic. Plastics businesses and government have agreed to meet ambitious targets via the UK Plastics Pact. However, widespread consumer practices in using plastics remain at odds with consumer views. This is an attitude-behaviour gap, and there is a lack of understanding of the factors shaping, influencing, and contextualising this gap. The PPiPL project focuses on how plastic food packaging is embedded in consumers’ day-to-day lives, examining the whole packaging supply chain. We are focused on understanding how consumption – in its various forms – impacts, and is impacted by, decisions throughout businesses and society. We work with partners across supply chains, combining various tools, concepts, and methods to provide valuable insights to increase collaboration and shared understanding along the UK food plastic packaging value chain. There are diverse perspectives on the role of the consumer in sustainability challenges. An important aspect of our work is to understand how these can be reconciled and made coherent. We ask: how is the consumer Attitude-Behaviour (A-B) gap understood from multiple perspectives (including consumer; supply chain; waste organisations)? PPiPL is a collaboration between researchers at Lancaster University (from the Management School, the Centre for Consumption Insights, the Department of Chemistry, and the Materials Science Institute) and an extensive network of industry partners, including: n Supermarkets (Booths; Waitrose); n Food suppliers (Bells of Lazonby; Butlers Larder); n Next generation packaging producers (BioTech Services Ltd); n Professional industry networks (Chartered Institute of Waste Management; Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining); n Reusers (Relic); and n Waste management (Preston Plastics; Lancaster City Council). Research approach The project is divided into five stages: 1 Literature Review/Plastic packaging landscape mapping: To produce a comprehensive map of the conditions and structures that have created the perceived legitimacy and normalcy of plastic packaging material. 2 Consumer Insights: To analyse the role of plastic packaging in consumer lives – how it is encountered in everyday experience; the problems of existing packaging materials; and the possibilities for ensuring sustainable futures. 3 Supply Chain: To unpack how supply chain actors respond to customer attitudes and behaviours, and to map out mechanisms for collaboration across supply chains and sectors. 4 Waste management and sustainability: To better understand the values attributed to plastic waste and disposal practices; to deliver actionable insights for authentic consumer and business behaviours across the supply chain; to highlight novel, sustainable change measures that will significantly impact on consumer demand and use. 5 Project oversight and closing the attitude-behaviour gap: This is the stage we are reaching now. Our next steps are to complete data gathering/analysis and develop the following: n Two pilot projects that close the attitude-behaviour gap; n A guidance report for businesses, public and third sector organisations outlining key points to overcome to create cultural shifts away from plastics; n Guidance documentation for: - Consumers ‘to make the right choice’ - Retailers on ‘how to influence consumers’ - Supply chain actors on ‘consumer attitudes and supply chain responses, identifying and documenting change intervention opportunities’ - Post-consumer organisations on ‘consumer attitudes and discarded plastic packaging drivers, barriers and opportunities for alternative plastic packaging, effective recycling and further investment in material recapture’. n Two case studies of plastic packaging change interventions; n A white paper ‘How to overcome the attitude gap’ targeted at industry and policy-makers; n Pilot project in Malaysia for comparative work. For more information, see