More than Half of Americans Concerned with Climate Change and Plastic Waste, Research Reveals

Published Aug 25, 2021

Toluna Corporate

Share this

Originally published by Printing News. 

Pandemic Fuels American’s Climate Change Fears


What: A study by Toluna, a tech company operating in the market research space, on American’s attitudes about the environment and sustainability. The study surveyed 1,000 people in the US.

Key Findings

Climate change (56%) and plastic waste (50%) weigh heavily on Americans when it comes to concerns on environmental/sustainability issues. Other top contenders include food waste (47%), animal welfare (46%), deforestation (38%), and carbon emissions (34%). As a result of the pandemic, Americans became more concerned about climate change (46%).

Packaging Fears

Most Americans (58%) are concerned with plastic packaging and avoid (68%) buying these items. Although one-third of respondents feel it’s easier to shop plastic-free than it was five years ago, 43% find there aren’t enough plastic-free options available while 42% find that plastic-free is more expensive. Other barriers to buying food and drink packaged in plastic include: 32% find plastic alternatives aren’t as durable as plastic; 27% find food and drink products are more prone to damage, and 26% find perishable items don’t’ last as long in plastic alternative packaging. A majority of respondents (63%) would switch to plastic-free options if they were available.

Who is responsible for reducing plastic? Most feel that plastic reduction falls on brands/manufacturers (62%), everyday people (59%), supermarkets/retailers (49%), and government (43%), respectively. And while one-fourth feel that supermarkets have made a done a good job with tackling plastic, 41% feel they’d like to see more progress.

Here are the top issues surrounding plastic packaging:

Plastic pollution in oceans 57%
Plastic pollution on land 51%
Lack of incentive to recycle 46%
Lack of recycling facilities available 39%
Lack of availability of alternative packaging to plastic 37%
Environmental cost to produce plastic 34%
Plastic alternatives not being affordable 33%

Got milk

While more than half of Americans have reduced the amount of dairy intake as a result of their environmental concerns and 43% claim they are buying more plant-based alternatives, Americans overwhelmingly love “real” milk products – with more than half saying there is no substitute for cheese and ice cream.

Cheese (64%) vs. alternative (13%)
Ice cream (56%) vs. alternative (14%)
Yogurt (50%) vs. alternative (12%)
Butter (55%) vs. (15%)
Milk (49%) vs. alternative (17%)

66% believe the US dairy industry is sustainable, with 47% saying that dairy alternatives are more sustainable than regular dairy. Here’s how Americans rank dairy products and their sustainability:

Almond milk (64%)
Traditional cow’s milk (56%)
Oat milk (50%)
Coconut milk (55%)
Rice milk (37%)

Share this
This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.