The Cetelem 2022 European Consumer Barometer found that a quarter of Europeans say they know exactly what the concept of a circular economy means. The data shows that a greater number consider it well developed in their country, confirming the fact that it is developing in a positive and beneficial way, as are the practices it includes.
In Portugal, 26% of respondents considered the circular economy to be well developed in the country. Although, on average, 36% of European participants also share the same opinion, the figure does not reflect the large geographic disparities. In the Nordic countries we find those who are quickest to say that the circular economy is well developed in their own countries, that is, the United Kingdom and Norway, with one in two respondents expressing this opinion. Southern respondents are unlikely to do so, with Bulgarians particularly skeptical (6%).
Consumers are more aware and committed
The awareness shown by European consumers towards the circular economy is also a source of hope for its development in the coming years, with 6 out of 10 believing that they are well-versed or well-versed in the subject. In the case of respondents in Portugal, 64% said they are well versed, placing the country in European rank. The three Nordic countries are clearly the most knowledgeable (7 out of 10). In contrast, Eastern European countries also form a somewhat homogenous but less conscientious group, with Bulgarians emerging as the least well-known of Europeans (only just under 4 out of 10). Surprisingly, several Western European countries have scores below the overall average, namely Austria and France (1 out of 2).
In addition to putting together two words that have a positive impact on Europeans, the circular economy has led more and more citizens to commit to implementing the three rupees it depends on: Recycle, Reduce and Reuse. But when we analyze the practices, we again find a clear geographic division between the states to the west and north on the one hand, and the other states to the east on the other. There is also a generation gap, albeit less pronounced, with those over 50 generally being more committed, regardless of the “R” involved.
Separation of waste and recycling are among the practices that most stir Europeans. It is practiced by more than 6 in 10 Europeans regularly – 66% in the case of the Portuguese – with Italians retaining their leadership position, closely followed by the Austrians, Spaniards and Swedes. On the contrary, the Bulgarians are the least active in this field.
Waste is also frequently reduced, according to 41% of Portuguese and 46% of Europeans. Again, Italians are the most virtuous in this aspect of the circular economy and the Czechs are the least committed.
The third stage of R, the reuse of the product, whether through sale, donation or reuse, is performed regularly by 41% of Portuguese and 43% of Europeans. Once again, Italians and Czechs rank above and below the world rankings, respectively.
While Europeans show a positive attitude towards participating in the circular economy, it is encouraging to see that their commitment is growing. Thus, one in two Europeans declare that they recycle their waste more and that they have reduced it in the past three years.
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