Sparking a transition to the future

Poll Shows Consumers in Japan Are Changing Their Behavior for the Better

A recent government poll revealed positive trends in consumer behavior, like declining to use plastic bags, with people in their 60s changing the most.

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On November 25, the Cabinet Office announced the results of a public opinion poll on consumer behavior related to plastic bags and other products. They showed that 58.8% of respondents had altered their behavior after enactment of a new law mandating surcharges for plastic bags and aimed at reducing plastic waste. A typical example was carrying reusable shopping bags.

An official from the Ministry of the Environment, in charge of promoting the law, celebrated the results, stating, "the introduction of plastic bag fees with the new law have brought about a change in consumer awareness and behavior."

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Sign posted in a supermarket announcing the percentage of shoppers who bring their own reusable shopping bags, July 22, 2022, Hyogo Ward, Kobe City.

Meanwhile, 19.3% of survey respondents reported carrying reusable bags and declining plastic spoons and straws even before the new law. On the other hand, 16.2% answered that they had not changed their behavior, even though they had more interest in the issue. Only 4.2% responded as having no increased interest and not changing their behavior.

Among those adopting new behaviors, 63.0% were women, compared to 53.8% for men. In terms of age, people in their 60s came in highest at 66.1%. The lowest percentage was seen for those in their 30s, at 52.2%.

When asked specifically about reactions to surcharges for plastic bags, 44.1% reported declining them after the fee was introduced. Those who had declined plastic bags even before the surcharges came in at 16.1%. Meanwhile, 25.3% said they would still accept plastic bags if they were free, and 13.3% reported continuing to accept plastic bags by paying the surcharges.

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