New survey: 4 million Swedes want products made from recycled materials



Consumers want to see more recycled materials in new products, clearer labelling and a business sector that takes responsibility for circular products. These are the findings of a new European survey by Stena Recycling, which has surveyed consumer attitudes towards recycled materials and sustainable products. 5000 people in five countries were surveyed, including 1000 Swedish respondents.

Industry leader Stena Recycling's Circular Voice report, conducted as part of the Circular Initiative partnership, shows that attitudes towards using circular materials in new products are consistently positive. 8 out of 10 believe it is important or very important for manufacturers to use recycled materials in their products, which means almost 30 million consumers in the five countries. Among Swedes aged 18-65, 71% think it is important or very important that manufacturers use recycled materials. This corresponds to 4.4 million Swedes - a large group of consumers, in other words. Almost as many, 7 out of 10, want to see clear labelling of products containing recycled materials.

Stena Recycling is a leading player in recycling and a driving force in the transition to a circular economy by working to ensure that as many different materials as possible are recycled and refined to live on as raw materials for new products. As part of its efforts to make the transition to a circular economy, Stena Recycling initiated the Circular Initiative cooperation arena in 2019, which includes various forward-looking collaborations on circularity and an annual event, which this year is on 5 May. At this year's Circular Initiative, which is open to all interested parties, the findings in the Circular Voice report will be part of the dialogue on new circular solutions.

- In our world, nothing is wasted; we are driven by the conviction that the earth's finite resources must be reused and recycled, again and again. To find out if consumers share our ambition to circulate more materials, we have now asked 5,000 respondents. We want to find out what barriers they see, what actions they are calling for and what their attitudes towards recycled materials are. It's very interesting to see that so many people think it's important to have sustainable products and to use recycled materials. Recycled materials are the future - and consumers are ready to change together with us, says Stena Recycling Sweden's CEO, Fredrik Pettersson.

63% of respondents want to adapt their consumption to a climate-smart lifestyle. In the past year, 4 out of 10 consumers have opted out of products or brands that they feel do not meet their sustainability values. In Sweden alone, 44% have opted out of brands and products, which corresponds to 2.7 million Swedish consumers. A majority of Swedish consumers are also prepared to pay as much or more for a product made from recycled materials. Only 10% say they are willing to pay less.

Supply does not match demand

Demand for recyclable and sustainable products is a common thread running through the survey. But who is responsible for increasing the use of recycled materials? In the broad survey, 1 in 3 respondents believe it is the responsibility of business. Among the Swedish respondents, there is a difference, with most (28%) believing that it is the responsibility of politicians and authorities. This compares, for example, with a majority (51%) in Finland who believe that business is responsible.

However, there is a large gap between demand and available supply. 26% of respondents believe that the main barrier to buying more products made from recycled materials is a lack of supply. According to the European Commission, European industry currently uses only 12% recycled materials in production. In addition, 27% consider that the main barrier is that it is difficult to understand what is actually made from recycled materials.

When Swedes are asked to list barriers to buying more products made from recycled materials, it is clear that these barriers are: it is difficult to understand what is made from recycled materials, the supply is too small and it costs too much.

Industry producing products that can be recycled is a prerequisite for circular material flows. 6 out of 10 Swedes consider it important or very important that a product they buy can also be recycled, and 45% of Swedes believe that it should even be forbidden to produce and sell products that cannot be recycled.

- The survey shows that there is a strong interest in circular products, with a clear majority demanding products made from recycled materials, and which are recyclable. At the same time, respondents feel that there is not enough supply. This is of course a huge opportunity for all companies that are early in offering their consumers a more circular product range," says Malin Baltzar, Sustainability Manager at Stena Recycling Sweden.

Five interesting insights from the survey:

  • 8 out of 10 Swedes value the use of recycled materials in products
  • 4 out of 10 believe that it should be illegal to produce products that cannot be recycled
  • 8 out of 10 Swedes want clear labelling on products with recycled material
  • 63% want to adapt their consumption to a climate-smart lifestyle
  • Swedes believe that politicians and authorities are responsible for increasing the use of recycled materials

3 quick facts about recycled materials

  1. One example of a material that works very well to recycle is aluminium, as it is very energy-intensive to produce. Recycling saves 95% of the energy compared to producing new aluminium from bauxite.
  2. Recycling a mobile phone saves enough energy to keep a 9 W light bulb on for 206 days.
  3. Stena Recycling is investing heavily in battery recycling. The aim is to be able to recycle up to 98% of a battery.


Download the survey here


Circular Initiative 2022

Stena Recycling invites you for the fourth consecutive year to the international Circular Initiative. Here, representatives from companies such as Electrolux, Alfa Laval, ABB and SEB, will discuss issues of circularity and transformation with experts, researchers and industry colleagues.

Read more about the Circular Initiative and register: 

Register here to Circular Initiative 2022

Read more about Circular Initiative

About the survey

The data collection has been carried out in a web panel. The target group is consumers aged 18-65 and older in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Poland. The results are weighted on the demographic variables age and gender per country to obtain nationally representative results. The number of respondents to the survey is 5 091. Responses have been broken down by market, with 1 024 respondents in Sweden, 1 017 in Norway, 1 013 in Denmark, 1 013 in Poland and 1 024 in Finland.


About Stena Recyling

Stena Recycling operates recycling operations at 160 sites in seven European countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Germany and Italy. Every year, six million tonnes of waste are recycled from around 100,000 customers in various sectors of society. Recycled materials are then sold as quality circular raw materials on a global market. Stena Recycling collaborates in circular partnerships with customers on the entire value chain of materials. The company's experts help companies with sustainable solutions that support a circular economy. This includes product design, education and development of optimized process and material flows that support companies' transition to climate neutrality and a circular business model.



Jesper Waltersson

Head of Corporate Communications - Stena Metall

+46 705 11 26 70


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