More than four in 10 (41%) Australians reported the Covid pandemic made them more concerned about the environment, with 44% saying it gave them the time to implement more sustainable practices, according to findings from the Cleanaway 2022 Recycling Behaviours Report.

Of people who said they actively seek out environmentally sustainable brands, 15% started that focus during the pandemic, although the majority (79%) are still unfamiliar with the concept of a circular economy.  

Cleanaway sustainability manager, Rebecca Evered says the Report shows Australians are placing more importance on playing their part in making a more sustainable future possible. 

“The pandemic, while challenging, gave Australians time to reflect and reset their recycling behaviours, and we’re pleased to see it has sparked some promising changes in the way we think about waste,” she said.

For a notable amount of people, this means considering what they can do to better our environment, whether it be through the choices they make when shopping, improving their recycling habits or limiting the amount of waste they’re producing.”

The Cleanaway research also revealed half (51%) of Australians are motivated to maintain the positive sustainable habits they picked up in lockdown as restrictions continue to ease.

Additionally, the report revealed some telling findings when it comes to comparing physical shopping behaviours with digital purchasing habits. While 53% seek out products with minimal packaging when shopping in store, only 39% do this online.

Further, when shopping in stores, 42% seek out products made from (or packaged with) compostable, reusable, or recyclable material, compared with only 33% online.