Changing Concerns over Single-use Plastics

Concern about Single-use Plastic Waste Has Decreased in Some Countries but Remains Strong in Those Most Worried about the Health Impacts of Plastics

As the world came together in Ottawa, Canada in April of 2024 for the fourth session of the UN-convened Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, GlobeScan’s global public opinion research shows that the perceived seriousness of waste in the environment from single-use plastics has decreased in some countries while remaining very high in others. 

Based on a largely representative online survey of nearly 30,000 people across 31 countries and territories, Radar draws upon GlobeScan’s unique database of over two decades of polling public opinion about people’s outlook toward societal actors and the issues affecting them. Results show that there is a large difference in concern in countries like Mexico, Brazil, and India where people tend to continue to rate the issue of single-use plastic waste in the environment as very serious compared to places like the USA, the UK, Germany, and China where people are becoming less worried about the issue. Just over one-third of Chinese respondents believe single-use plastic waste is a very serious issue compared to almost three-quarters of people in Mexico and Brazil.


Survey Question: For each of the following possible global problems, please indicate if you see it as a very serious, somewhat serious, not very serious, or not at all serious problem. ‒ Single-use plastic waste in the environment

Source: GlobeScan Radar Trends Report (survey of 29,565 people in the general public across 31 countries and territories in July ‒ August 2023)