Plastic packaging: What are we doing to our planet?

Megan Bendall
Bath Spa University
September 2019


Single use plastic (SUP hereafter) packaging is heavily used within the food retail industry as it provides protection and enables greater convenience in today’s consumption-driven fast-paced society. However, this form of packaging poses considerable concerns to the environment and public health, causing harm to wildlife and potential chemical contamination of the food chain through ingestion and storage. Awareness regarding negative impacts has risen over recent years; as a result businesses, organisations and the government are facing increasing pressure to reduce plastic packaging. This research employs qualitative semi-structured interviews with four individuals representing the following stakeholder groups: activists; plastic free shop proprietors; a supermarket; and a sustainable food retail business. The findings demonstrate that the societal change away from using SUP as packaging has emerged from environmental concerns and challenging its use is necessary to reduce plastic packaging. Going forward, the research identifies areas where SUP reduction has gathered significant momentum and where further work is needed.

Author profile

Megan Bendall graduated in 2018 with a First Class honours degree in BSc Global Development & Sustainability from Bath Spa University. The research was initially conducted as part of the final year dissertation, March - April 2018.

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single use plastic (SUP), packaging, sustainability, consumption, environment, society

Plastic packaging: What are we doing to our planet? by Megan Bendall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons Attribution

Based on a work at

Original Papers - Geoverse
ISSN 1758-3411
Editor-in-Chief: Professor Helen Walkington