Are people open to the idea of ecolabels?

This report looks at the role that eco-labelling could play in providing citizens with information on the durability, recyclability, and repairability of products, inclusive of home textiles, furniture, and electrical appliances. The research also explores people’s receptivity to using ecolabels, and ultimately, their potential for influencing the products we decide to purchase. 


  • In Powering up Britain, the UK Government restated its intention to pursue the role of eco-labelling across sectors to help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions.
  • WRAP was commissioned by DEFRA to research the role that eco-labelling could play in providing citizens with information on the durability, recyclability, and repairability of products, people’s receptivity to using ecolabels, and the potential of ecolabels to influence purchasing decisions.
  • Products in scope for this research sit within three categories: electrical appliances, furniture and home textiles. They include: washing machines, kettles, vacuum cleaners, TVs, laptops, smartphones, sofa beds, chests of drawers, pillows, duvets and mattresses.

Key findings

  • Receptiveness to ecolabels: a survey conducted as part of this research found that approximately 5% of UK citizens (one in 20) are 'extremely receptive' to the concept of an ecolabel and will naturally seek this information out where available. They are part of a broader market that indicated that they are 'receptive' to the concept of an ecolabel (around one in three UK citizens or 34%). However, receptivity differs by product group, with people most receptive to an ecolabel on washing machines, kettles, vacuum cleaners, and sofa beds.
  • Ecolabel design: an ecolabel featuring an overall score for item performance with individual scores for the three attributes (durability, recyclability, and repairability), was preferred by the survey sample. When shopping in store, people indicated they would find it most useful to have an ecolabel displayed on the product itself. For online purchases, a pop-up in the specification was most preferable.
  • Ability to influence behaviours: publishing information on a standardised basis would influence purchase choices, particularly in relation to durability. Durability was the most influential attribute, followed by repairability, and then recyclability.
  • Ecolabels as a solution: ecolabels are not a standalone solution. To influence more sustainable product choices, as well as use, repair and discard habits, ecolabels must be used as part of a wider strategy. A legal basis for ecolabels would also need to be established, ensuring that adoption of labelling criteria involves consumers, provides trust and clarity, and addresses consumer motivations and concerns, rather than simply presenting product information to them.

Download files

By downloading resources you are agreeing to use them according to our terms and conditions.

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

  • Assessing consumer receptivity to an eco-label for product durability, recyclability and repairability

    PDF, 2.01 MB