Recycle, Upcycle, Reuse: Consumers Doing Best Not to Waste

June 20, 2016

Results from a SupermarketGuru survey show how consumers are handling non-food waste.

Food waste is a huge issue and hot topic these days. From companies and consumers finding use for “ugly produce” to grocers and restaurants creating systems for donating excess food, the desire to be a more conscious consumers or business is universal. But what about non-food waste, are consumers making an effort in this area as well? In a recent quick poll we set out to see if consumers were concerned about non-food waste and what they were doing about it.

Not surprisingly, a whopping 90 percent of the consumer panel is either concerned or very concerned about how much they waste.

Here are the top 10 things consumers are doing to reduce their waste footprint:

  • Recycle paper and plastic bags (86%)
  • Bring reusable tote bags to shop (72%)
  • Reuse paper and plastic (71%)
  • Reuse ziplock bags (62%)
  • Save gift-wrap and gift bags to reuse or repurpose (62%)
  • Reuse glass jars (i.e. pasta sauce) (52%)
  • Only drink from reusable bottles for water and coffee or tea (51%)
  • Save plastic containers from takeout meals (45%)
  • Rarely use computer’s printer, just read everything online (including newspaper) (38%)
  • Never double bag at the supermarket (28%)

Some dedicated waste avoiders also told us in open-ended response that they never use disposable one time use anything- no paper or Styrofoam plates, forks, cups, nothing!

Another dedicated recycler donates everything rather than throwing it out, including old sheets and towels to the Humane Society.

Finally a panelist told us that they reduce gas usage by riding their bike or walking as much as possible, and that they fix or recycle things rather than throwing them out.


Clearly consumers are concerned about waste, and not just when it comes to food. Supermarkets could help their shoppers by assisting with harder to recycle items as well as offering more ease and excitement in bulk and remind shoppers to bring their reusable containers to the store.