It’s Not Easy Being Green
Millions of Brits admit to ignoring environmental concerns to make their lives easier, a study has found.
A poll of 2,000 adults found despite 87 per cent agreeing on the importance of being green, more than half believe it’s often ‘inconvenient’.
Three in 10 admit binning plastic food containers rather than washing them out and recycling it.
And 23 per cent have requested a paper bill when they could have gone ‘paperless’ – and had the receipt emailed to them instead.
Almost half pay for plastic bags with their shopping to save them having to remember to carry a reusable bag around, and 27 per cent often use a tumble dryer instead of hanging washing out to dry.
Others admit buying paint in a plastic pot rather than a metal can that can be recycled at most household waste and recycling centres.
Environmental concerns also go out the window amid boiling a kettle filled with more water than we need and having the heating turned up high all the time.
A spokesman for Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association, which commissioned the research, said: “Our results found the vast majority of Brits are keen on the idea of being green.
“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.
“But we do also look to retailers and manufacturers to make it clear how we can be more environmentally friendly when we use their products.
“Those on-pack recycling logos and instructions clearly matter.”
The study also found a quarter of Brits have thrown food away which could have been eaten or reused in some way, and a third are happy to jump in the car when they could easily walk the distance.
More than half pick up disposable batteries rather than ones they need to recharge and 37 per cent have bought a bottle of water when they could have used one from home.
It also emerged a fifth of respondents would go as far as to say they feel that being environmentally and ecologically friendly is a ‘burden’ on their lives.
A quarter think it’s too expensive, and one in five simply don’t believe their contribution will make a difference to the future.
Others say they are ‘too busy’ to be green – or find it confusing.
However, 65 per cent of respondents do worry about the impact of people not being environmentally friendly on future generations.
Brits also admit to being far less environmentally friendly at work than they would be at home.
The research, carried out via OnePoll, also found almost 70 per cent believe retailers aren’t doing enough to present the recycling attributes of the products they sell.
Another 83 per cent believe retailers should make it crystal clear whether a packet, pot or parcel can be recycled or not.
And when buying a product such as paint, the recyclability of the container is often the third most influential factor – after the cost and quality of the product.
A Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association spokesman added: “Consumers want to be given the information to make an informed choice and not be misled into believing a pack is infinitely recycled when in fact it isn’t, as is often the case.
“Take paint cans. Empty plastic paint cans have a comparatively limited recycling life, while metal paint cans which can be recycled over and over with no loss of quality.
“The choice is yours.”
Top 20 things Brits do because it’s more convenient than being green
- Buy new batteries instead of rechargeable ones
- Use a plastic straw
- Pay for a 5p plastic bag instead of remembering your re-usable shopping bags
- Put fresh fruit and veg in a plastic bag at the supermarket
- Leave lights turned on when you aren’t in the room
- Buy a plastic bottle of water instead of carrying one you can reuse
- Leave plug sockets switched on even when they aren’t in use
- Drive when you could have walked
- Throw out plastic food packaging instead of washing it out to recycle it
- Use a tumble dryer instead of hanging clothes on the line
- Put something recyclable into the bin instead of sorting it into the right recycling box
- Throw food away which could have been eaten or reused
- Boil a full kettle for one cup of tea
- Buy paint in plastic pots instead of metal, which can be recycled
- Use a new coffee cup with your takeaway coffee instead of taking a reusable one
- Still ask for paper bills when you could go paperless
- Leave a tap running for a long time/ when you aren’t using it
- Have the heating on while also having windows open
- Leave the shower turned on when you aren’t it
- Wash laundry on a hot wash when it didn’t need it