With news around sustainability dominating the media more and more, new research from GoodMove has revealed that a whopping 60% of Brits report sometimes making sustainable decisions, with a further 26% reporting to actively live a sustainable lifestyle.
London residents lead the way as eco-warriors of the UK with a massive nine in ten (90%) reporting that they try to live more sustainably. However, up north, Manchester came out as the least conscious city with one in five residents (21%) stating that they rarely make sustainable decisions.
So, what prevents Brits from living sustainably and just what small lifestyle changes can they make? GoodMove worked with sustainability expert David Grayson of Spaciable to reveal just that.
When asked the top reasons that prevent them from making sustainable decisions, Brits responded:
- It’s too expensive (54%)
- Lack of convenience (35%)
- I have other priorities (23%)
- Lack of education (17%)
- Not enough government funding (15%)
A third (35%) of those polled cited lack of convenience, outlining factors such as “lack of sustainable products in local shops” and “problems with rubbish disposal in my area” as a barrier to sustainability.
Interestingly, 15% of people said that there is not enough government funding which stops them making sustainable decisions. This reflects recent news which saw the Green Homes scheme leave people with £1,000 in administration costs.
However, the biggest barrier for over half of Brits (54%) is the belief that living more sustainably can be too expensive. Although according to sustainability expert David Grayson, this is a misconception.
“Sustainable choices can be as simple and cost-free as planning meals ahead of shopping to ensure minimal food waste or buying from charity shops (and why not put the saved money over time towards that heat pump?!).
“It’s also worth remembering that many of the more expensive sustainable choices could be viewed as an investment that will help offset energy bills through lower running costs, while adding value to a property.”
Sustainable choices can be as simple and cost-free as planning meals ahead of shopping to ensure minimal food waste or buying from charity shops
There are many ways to make more climate-friendly decisions. Brits report the following actions, that help make a difference:
- I recycle and reuse materials when I can (71%)
- Reduced food waste (61%)
- Try to reduce water waste (57%)
- I invest in home insulation (32%)
- I purchase second-hand furniture or upcycle furniture (31%)
Unsurprisingly, recycling is the most common way that Brits combat sustainability (71%), while reducing food-waste (61%) and water-waste (57%) have become habitual for most of the nation.
Despite this, WRAP reports the UK wastes the equivalent of 4.5m tonnes of food waste, though Grayson reveals some savvy sustainability tips to lessen your household output.
“Plan meals and shopping trips, use food that will go out of date first and don’t be confused between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates. Freeze food if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat it in time. Even better, if you have a garden, try out your own compost bin.”
On the other hand, just a third of Brits said they invested in home insulation (32%) or upcycled furniture (31%). So, if you’re feeling a spot of DIY there are many places you can source secondhand furniture.
Grayson suggests that websites such as Freegle, Freecycle, Preloved, Facebook Marketplace and charity shops are all great outlets for passing on and acquiring items.
“Many local communities have great re-use/upcycling charities in operation, whereby they collect unwanted items, renovate them if necessary, and sell them – often at a discount to low-income households.”
Commenting on the research Nima Ghasri, chartered surveyor, and director, of GoodMove says: “Over the next few years we expect sustainable retrofits properties to be in big demand, and according to the data a third of Brits have already invested in home insulation which looks promising!”
“As mentioned, investing in areas such as heat pump technology or home insulation may cost in the short-term, but in the long-term you can expect to save a huge amount in bills – as well as doing a huge favour to the environment!”