Nearly nine in 10 (88%) people who watched the final episode of Blue Planet II have changed their behaviour when it comes to single use plastic consumption, new Waitrose research suggests.

Since the episode about the effect of plastics on the oceans aired in late 2017, Waitrose has seen an 800% increase in questions from its customers about plastics.

Of the 2,000 survey respondents, who do not exclusively shop at Waitrose, 60% now use reusable water bottles more often than they did in 2017 - rising to over 70% among those aged 18-24.

A further 60% of those surveyed now more regularly hand over a reusable cup when buying a takeaway coffee since watching Blue Planet.

Waitrose & Partners managing director, Rob Collins, said: “Being mindful of how we live and eat has become a priority in today’s world. As we become increasingly mindful of our own health, the well-being of our family and that of the planet, we’re reshaping how we shop, cook and eat. Welcome to the era of the mindful consumer.”

Head of brand development and product innovation at Waitrose & Partners, Natalie Mitchell, said: “We’ve seen a big shift in consumer behaviour. Previously, customers wanted to know that we were taking care of things, but now they get actively involved.”

Waitrose is aiming to replace plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetable with a home compostable alternative, and has pledged to remove 5p single-use plastic carrier bags. Both changes will take place in all shops by spring 2019 and are predicted to save 134 million plastic bags (the equivalent of 500 tonnes of plastic) a year.

The report follows chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget announcement that the government will introduce a tax on the production and import of plastic packaging in the UK from April 2022.

The government has also announced a consultation on proposals to ban the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds.

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