Majority of consumers in the UK and Germany happy to purchase home and personal care products in cartons, research shows

(Oslo, May 16 2024) A survey of consumers in the UK and Germany shows that the majority of shoppers are happy to purchase a variety of home and personal care products in cartons made from paperboard, including laundry detergent, fabric softener, and hand soap.

According to research commissioned by Elopak and conducted by Absolute Research, 65% of respondents said they are happy to purchase fabric softener which uses a carton as its primary packaging. 59% said the same of laundry detergent and liquid floor cleaner. Meanwhile, 56% are content to buy liquid floor cleaner in a carton.

These figures were similarly positive, and in some cases even higher, when consumers were asked to consider cartons as a refill pack for some of the most commonly purchased household goods. In this scenario, 64% said they would be happy to purchase fabric softener in a carton, along with 61% who said they would buy detergent and 59% who would buy floor cleaner if it came in a carton refill pack.

Additionally, 57% of respondents said they are happy to buy hand soap, surface cleaner, bubble bath, or washing-up liquid in a carton refill pack. This refill pack would then be used to top up a plastic or glass bottle at home, without having to bring the container to a supermarket.

The research was commissioned by global packaging company Elopak and conducted online by Absolute Research in December 2023. It surveyed 1,025 adults, split evenly across the UK and Germany, who said they were the main shopper for their household.

“This is very exciting news for FMCG companies. Multiple Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies have shown that cartons have a smaller carbon footprint than plastic bottles and they are already widely used across a variety of food products for this reason. Now we know that consumers are happy to make the same environmentally conscious choice for their cleaning and personal care products.”

Martin Shaw, Elopak market unit manager for UK & Ireland.

The research revealed some interesting findings about consumer attitudes to refillable packaging more generally. Across a range of household goods, consumers are far more likely to purchase pre-filled refill packs than in-store refills, with 54% buying pre-fills for hand soap and 25% for surface cleaner.

By contrast, far fewer consumers currently buy refills where you need to bring your own bottle to the shop, with only 5% of those surveyed opting for this method of refilling hand soap, falling to 4% for washing up liquid and 2% for shampoo.

When asked why they prefer prefill packs to in-store refills, respondents often said it is more convenient and less messy than filling a bottle in-store. They also said it allows them to buy in bulk, thus saving money and trips to the shops.

Thinking about refillable packaging more generally, 91% of consumers in the UK and Germany said reducing plastic is important to them when choosing refillable packaging. Meanwhile, 75% said it is important that refillable packaging allows them to lower their personal carbon footprint and 90% said it is important for a pre-filled refill pack to be fully recyclable.

“This research shows that cartons are a natural fit for consumers’ needs, both from a convenience and environmental standpoint. Cartons are recyclable, easy and convenient to grab off the shelves, and contribute far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than plastic bottles. This research shows that the majority of consumers already appreciate these benefits and are willing to give cartons a try for more of the products they love.”

Astrid Näscher, Elopak’ s Marketing Director for Europe North.

Already a leading carton provider for fresh milk and juice products, Elopak has recently expanded its offering into packaging personal care and cleaning products. Products packaged in Elopak’s D-PAK™ cartons for non-food products include Klar hand soap and laundry detergent in Norway, Sainsbury’s own-brand laundry detergent and Morrisons fabric conditioner in the UK, and Louro’s Paperdent mouthwash in Germany.

About Elopak
Elopak is a leading global provider of sustainable packaging solutions specialized in carton packaging and filling equipment. Working in partnership with brands and retailers we empower consumers to make environmentally conscious choices in sectors ranging from food and drink to personal and homecare.

Our iconic Pure-Pak® cartons are made using renewable, recyclable and sustainably sourced materials, providing a natural and convenient alternative to plastic bottles that fits within a low carbon circular economy.

Founded in Norway in 1957, Elopak was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2021. Today we employ 2,700 people and sell in excess of 14 billion cartons annually across more than 70 countries.

Elopak is a UN Global Compact participant and has been carbon neutral since 2016. For more information, visit or follow us @Elopak on LinkedIn.