How do Brits plan on helping out the environment?

The vast majority of Brits try to reduce their environmental impact, but what are the ways in which we do so?

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It may have taken a slight backseat recently thanks to you-know-what, but the state of the environment remains one of the most pressing concerns facing society today, and there’s lots we can do to help.

97% of Brits currently take actions to reduce their impact on the environment, according to Finder research, but what are the most popular methods for reducing our environmental impact, and what more do we plan to do? Read on to see what methods we plan to adopt in order to help the environment over the next 12 months, from going on holiday less, to green investing, all the way through to filling up the kettle less.

Quick overview

  • 90% of Brits recycle plastic and glass making this the most popular method used by Brits to reduce their impact on the environment.
  • Over the next 12 months three-quarters of Brits (75%) will make more changes to improve their impact on the environment.
  • But only 1 in 10 Brits (10%) have an electric or hybrid vehicle.

How do Brits help the environment?

It may not come as any surprise, but recycling is the most popular way we try to reduce our impact on the environment. A whopping 90% of Brits recycle their plastic and glass, which is sure to keep the binman busy.

4 in 5 Brits (81%) also make sure they don’t fully fill the kettle up when using it for 1 hot drink. 80% also use energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs and actively try not to waste food.

When it comes to putting our money where our mouth is, 15% of Brits have now moved their investments into ethical or socially-responsible funds and 17% regularly carpool as a way to reduce CO2 emissions.

However, only 1 in 10 Brits drive an electric or hybrid vehicle, making it the least common way we try to reduce our environmental impact.

finder-recycling-statistics

How else do we plan on reducing our environmental impact?

While 97% of Brits already take action to help out the environment, 75% plan on making at least 1 lifestyle change in the next 12 months to help out. The most popular adjustment Brits plan on making is improving their waste consumption in some way, such as buying products with less packaging or using less water, with 1 in 2 (50%) intending to do so over the next year.

Other common intentions include using alternative or energy-efficient transport (45%), as well as ethical and second-hand shopping (42%). Reducing our food waste and meat consumption comes in a close fourth, with 2 in 5 Brits (39%) intending to do so over the next 12 months.

Action % plan to start doing this over the next year
Produce less waste (Using environmentally-friendly cleaning and hygiene products, buy products with less packaging, re-use plastic, use less water, go paperless for bills, recycle 50%
More efficient or alternative transport (Buy an electric or hybrid vehicle, take public transport, cycle, drive less, walk more, car sharing/pooling) 45%
Ethical and second-hand shopping (Buy ethical and sustainable clothes, buy second-hand clothes, toys and furniture, buy fewer clothes) 42%
Reduce food waste and meat consumption (Eat less meat or fish, buy soon-to-expire food, reduce food waste) 39%
Reduce flights (Take shorter or fewer flights, stop flying altogether) 23%
Garden more (Buy plants to combat air pollution, plant trees, grow food) 20%
Green investments (Move investments into ethical funds and/or companies) 17%
Use appliances more efficiently (Use energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, not filling the kettle up fully for one drink) 14%

Most popular intentions

Shopping for more sustainable clothing is the single most popular way we plan on lessening our impact on the environment, along with using environmentally-friendly products in general.

The table below highlights the 10 most popular lifestyle changes we plan on making to the help environment.

Top 10 actions Brits intend to do % that will start to do it over the next year
Buy ethical and sustainable clothes 27%
Using environmentally-friendly cleaning products 22%
Using environmentally-friendly self-care and hygiene products 22%
Eat locally grown food 22%
Buy plants to combat air pollution 20%
Plant trees 19%
Stopped using wipes, wet wipes etc 18%
Buy an electric or hybrid vehicle 18%
Grow my own food 18%
Move my investments into ethical funds and/or companies 17%

Generational differences

The younger generations are the most environmentally-conscious, with 79% of millennials and 89% of post-millennials intending to reduce their environmental impact in future.

7 in 10 of gen X (72%) and baby boomers (71%) also plan on making lifestyle changes to help out the environment, with 59% of the silent generation intending to do the same.

Generation % plan to start doing this over the next year
Post-millennial/generation Z (Born after 1996) 89%
Millennials (Born 1981–1996) 79%
Generation X (Born 1965–1980) 72%
Boomers (Born 1946–1964) 71%
Silent (Born 1928–1945) 59%
The news that 75% of Brits are planning to reduce their environmental impact during the coming year is amazing, but there’s always more you can do that you might not think twice about. If you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact, consider these quick ideas:
  • Leave the car at home
  • Sometimes we take the car for just a short ride to the shops or a friend’s house, which isn’t always necessary. Occasionally walking or taking the bike doesn’t only give you some exercise, but you won’t have to fill the tank as often, saving you money and producing less pollution.

  • Don’t leave trash and don’t toss your butts
  • Cigarette filters are the most common waste in the world and it can take up to a decade before they are decomposed by the environment. 1 plastic bottle takes up to 450 years, while a plastic bag requires 10–20 years.

  • Turn the TV off properly
  • When you’re not using your appliances and charges, just unplug them. Standby mode uses energy and is also a fire hazard.

  • Don’t do halfsies and skip the fabric softener
  • Fill up your dishwasher, washing machine or tumble dryer. Full loads actually use less energy! Another handy trick is to wash dishes and clothes at a lower temperature. While you’re at it, using fabric softener actually ruins clothes and is environmentally unfriendly, so skip it if you can.

  • Close your curtains
  • If you live in a colder property, a simple but effective trick to save on the energy bill is to close your curtains so the heat stays in. If you do, try to avoid covering your radiators as it will prevent the heat they produce from spreading.

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Onepoll on 21–23 July 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

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