Is it more expensive to go plastic free?

3 minute read

Are people being encouraged to buy items wrapped in plastic by supermarkets - because they're cheaper than items that are loose? We're determined to find out.

Retailers sometimes tell us that the reason they stock plastic-packaged goods is because that's the way people like to shop, and buy, their items.

But we wonder if shops actually sell more items when they're packaged in plastic because they're cheaper than loose items?

With your help - we can get to the bottom of this. But our scientists need to know the facts.



of inland litter picks found PPE litter last year



drop in plastic bags found on UK beaches since 5p charge introduced

Help us uncover the truth

All you need to do is record what you see when you're out shopping. It's a really simple form and takes just 5 minutes to submit your research.

We are focussing our research on price differences between wrapped or loose fruit, vegetables and dried goods. If there is a dried goods refill station in your area we'd love to hear from you!

This project could help save our seas from plastic pollution.

Take part in our research into plastic packaging

Click on the button below to see the survey, or read on to learn more.


Using our simple and easy to use online form above  you can help us research whether shops are selling items packaged in plastic cheaper than those loose.

By sharing what you see with our scientists we can understand the problem, and campaign for real change.


  • Select an item the list in our survey
  • Let us know whether it's wrapped in plastic or loose
  • Tell us the price per item, or per kilo

If you are buying dried goods loose from a shop or refill station don't forget to take your own container

Credit: Image by Markus Spiske from Unsplash

We're doing this on a deadline...

If you are comparing data from a supermarket and a local shop please try to provide the data (because this is actual science) within the same 7 day period. That way we know that the price difference is not due to a change in season, or stock levels.

Please submit data no later than midnight on August 8th - our survey will close after that.

We have provided a simple and quick online survey but in case you don't have internet signal in-store you can click on the link below to download a simple form on a word document to complete by hand.

Then just upload the information online when you get back from the shops!

Bonus challenge:

If you have completed this at a supermarket why not visit a local market or greengrocers as well and see what the difference is? 

Or if you shared your first set of data from a local market or greengrocers, could you visit a supermarket to compare your results there?

Things to consider:

  • it's important that the items being sold outside of the big supermarkets are being sold loose
  • if they are sold loose please don't accept a plastic bag to buy them 
  • Quick tip: take a bag or container from home so you don't need to worry about packaging waste

Why this matters...

If your local greengrocer is 'getting in right' and selling items loose for less, or your town's farmer's market is actually cheaper we want to know.

We need the facts. And to get the facts - we need you. 

Follow us and tag us on social media

Let us know how you're getting on - and what you discover by sharing your findings on social media.

Include the hashtags #PointlessPlastic and #PlasticChallenge so we can see your post. Links to our social media accounts are below, so you can follow and tag us too.

By sharing our plastic packaging project on social media you can help spread the word. The more data our scientists have the better!

Remember: small steps can make a big difference if lots of people move in the same direction...

Any questions?

Email us at [email protected] and mark it for the attention of Niamh - plastic packaging survey.

We're fighting for plastic free seas - will you help us?

Together we can make a difference