Forgetfulness, a barrier to re-using

Lee from Yohei Cafe in Wānaka is happy to put your takeaway sushi in your own container.

Last Tuesday Wastebusters released its initial findings from its ‘Resourceful Communities’ survey, with the results highlighting people’s deep concern for their own environmental impact⁠—and their forgetfulness. 

The community enterprise’s research aimed to identify barriers that prevent people in our region from reducing and reusing.

 “We asked people about a whole range of reduce and reuse behaviours, from taking a reusable cup and BYO containers for takeaways, to buying second hand and repairing rather than replacing,” said Wastebusters project manager Sophie Ward. “What we found was that people are deeply concerned about the impact their choices are having on the environment, but this concern is not always reflected in their shopping behaviour.” 

The survey found health and impact on the environment are the two main factors which influence our consumer choices. 

It’s now the norm to use your own bag or bottle and more than half of us use our own coffee cup, but there is still a long way to go, particularly with regards to BYO containers. 

The main barrier across all reusable options is people forgetting to bring their own cup, container or bag with them. 

“For too long the onus has been on the individual to change their behaviour. Individuals want more support from business and government to make it easier to change their behaviour,” added Ward. 

Consumer choices are also affected by other factors which are often in conflict with reducing and reusing, such as cost, convenience and what the kids like. 

There was strong support for more information and a keen interest in learning more about methods to reduce and reuse. 

Most people would like businesses to help them reduce their environmental impact and the majority want to see BYO containers encouraged, a reduction in packaging, and businesses reducing and recycling their own waste. 

“We all have a part to play in accelerating the transition to a circular economy: local and national governments, the waste industry, businesses, and all of us as individuals,” said Ward. 

Thanks to the hundreds of responses to the survey, Wastebusters has gleaned a substantial insight into the barriers our communities face reducing and reusing. 

The information will be used to inform future campaigns and initiatives, create helpful workshops and further online resources, and better target their activities to have more impact. 


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