As England prepares for more lockdown restrictions to be lifted this weekend, new research from Bulb, the UK’s biggest green energy company, reveals that 37% of Brits lived more sustainably during lockdown. A quarter (24%) – equating to 14 million Brits – have resolved to carry on their eco-conscious habits as we move into the ‘new normal’*.
The sustainable changes made by Brits during lockdown included buying fewer clothes (44%), walking more (40%) and buying local groceries (28%). Other shifts included being more mindful of energy use at home (26%) and recycling more (26%).
Top Ten Sustainable Habits Adopted by Brits During Lockdown
- Buying fewer clothes
- Walking more
- Not using a car
- Buying local groceries
- Being more mindful about energy use at home (e.g. turning off lights and appliances)
- Recycling more
- Drinking more tap water, rather than bottled
- Using less water (e.g. showering less, doing less laundry)
- Cycling more
- Trying more sustainable food, such as plant-based
Almost a third (32%) said the slower pace of life gave them more time to make eco-friendly choices, and 30% were able to pay more attention to the household activities they were doing. Saving money also had a big impact, with 37% citing this as a reason for living more sustainably during lockdown.
Seeing the impact of lockdown on the environment also played a big part in inspiring people to change their ways, with 35% saying they were more aware and appreciative of nature, thanks to hearing the birds sing. A quarter (26%) were inspired by positive news such as seeing air pollution go down in cities and the Himalayas being seen for the first time in decades.
Although Brits are eager to continue living more sustainably, over half (54%) feel they don’t know how to do it, and almost two thirds (65%) say they want to learn more.
Those looking to live more sustainably can head to https://bulb.co.uk/carbon-calculator/ to find out their carbon footprint and offset it by funding carbon reduction projects around the world.
As well as living sustainably, Brits want to continue other positive habits, including exercising more at home (37%), finding ways to save money (34%), and spending more time with family (32%).
Although almost one in five don’t think they picked up any bad habits during lockdown (19%), there are some habits Brits are keen to shake. These include watching too much TV (34%), spending too much time on social media (27%) and not spending enough time outdoors (21%) – with feeling unhealthy being the main reason for wanting to change their ways (42%).
For those looking to live more sustainably as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, Amit has suggested some ‘New Normal’ Resolutions:
- Work out your carbon footprint – If you know your impact on the planet, you can start to make changes. Bulb has a Carbon Calculator which can help you work out your footprint and offset what you can’t reduce.
- Eat local – Buying local food from your nearest shop is a great way to cut down your emissions and there’s never been a better time to explore what’s being made in your local area. Buying seasonal food helps to lower your impact too.
- Eat more plant-based foods – Meat and dairy are responsible for 14.5% of global emissions. So swap animal products for fruits, veggies, grains, and beans whenever you can. Every day that you don’t eat meat and dairy, you reduce your carbon footprint by 3.6kg – that’s 1.3 tonnes of CO2 a year. If going veggie isn’t for you, then try cutting down on red meat. Eating beef and lamb can be up to 6 times more carbon intensive than eating chicken and pork.
- Swap driving for cycling or walking – If you’re venturing out more now, consider walking or cycling instead of driving.
- Buy fewer electrical products – It’ll save you money, but also help to reduce your emissions.
- Fly less – If you fly, air travel is probably responsible for the largest part of your carbon footprint. Avoid flying if you can. It may be possible to take the train or ferry instead. If you have to fly, go direct with no stopovers. Takeoff and landing use more fuel and cause more emissions.
- Buy second-hand or quality clothes that will last – Pretty much all the clothes we buy have a carbon impact, thanks to the materials they’re made from, and the way they’re manufactured, distributed and sold. So buying less stuff in the first place is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Look for used or recycled items instead.
- Switch to green energy – Switching to green energy makes a big difference and is easier – and cheaper – than you might think. By switching from a non-renewable supplier to a green supplier like Bulb, the average person in the UK lowers their carbon impact by 3.4 tonnes of CO2 every year.
- Make your home energy efficient – Making homes more efficient can lower your carbon impact by up to 3 tonnes of CO2 every year. There are plenty of simple things you can do, like switching to LED light bulbs, insulating your home and improving window glazing. And then there’s the cost-free things you can do, like swapping that bath for a shower, or washing up in a bowl to save hot water.