In numbers: How the UK public is shunning sustainable actions in favour of convenience

While most Brits say they are keen to change their behaviour to become more sustainable, most don't follow through on their commitments, a new survey of 2,000 people has found. Here, edie rounds up the key findings of the poll.


In numbers: How the UK public is shunning sustainable actions in favour of convenience

edie rounds up the key facts from the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association's recent behaviour change survey

A recent survey, commissioned by the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and undertaken by OnePoll, asked 2,000 adults from across the UK about the actions they were taking to make their lifestyles less carbon-intensive and wasteful.

Covering an array of issues, from plastic recycling to sustainable transport, the poll asked participants what the key barriers were to making “eco-friendly” choices, and what companies could do to make changing their daily habits easier.

While 87% said they thought it was important to live a “greener” lifestyle, more than half (52%) said they did not always choose the most sustainable option due to “inconvenience”.

Actions found to be commonly avoided in favour of convenience were walking and cycling, separating waste for recycling and reusing shopping bags and packaging. 

“Our results found that the vast majority of Britons are keen on the idea of being green,” an MPMA spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately, it often only takes the slightest inconvenience to knock all of the wind out of our sails and we wind up doing things that are easy – but not great for the planet.”

As research which suggests that consumer demand for sustainable packaging, corporate transparency and ethically-produced fashion is rising continues to emerge, the survey sheds light on how attitudes translate into tangible actions.

Here, edie rounds up the key facts and stats from the poll’s findings.

In numbers: How much have the UK public changed their green habits? 


Turning the Blue Planet effect into impactful behaviour change

Hubbub founder Trewin Restorick recently wrote a guest blog for edie, explaining how businesses can drive lasting, impactful behaviour change to make their operations more sustainable. You can read his top tips for achieving employee and consumer engagement here

Sarah George

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Comments (2)

  1. George Richards says:

    Unfortunately people are by nature lazy and even those that purport to hold ‘green views’ will often only do what is convenient. A multi layered approach is needed combining education and information with practical measures, investment in affordable practical public transport and meaningful and enforceable legislation that encourages sustainability and penalises those that chose to waste precious resources and pollute our environment.

  2. Bob Latham says:

    Showing the the stat that shows 23% still ask for paperless bills carries the implication this is a bad thing. The alternative of an email bill carries huge energy costs for creation, cloud storage and retrieval, let alone your inbox is then fair game for the supplier. A significant proportion of people who opt for an e Bill go on to print out at home for high value items. I suspect that a full life cycle comparison between point of sale paper Bill (recyclable at end of life) versus e Bill (forever in the cloud) would make people think twice about thinking paper=bad .

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