Green-aware Brits confess their bad eco habits
17th November 2020
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Over 54s most eco-conscious while under 35s admit most sins

Over a third of Brits admit to wasting food and purchasing products containing single-use plastic packaging, with young people holding up their hands as the worst offenders. This is despite an overwhelming majority (95%) of people declaring themselves to be at least somewhat eco-conscious, and half trying to be eco-friendly as much as possible.

These are some of the findings of new research conducted by heating systems manufacturer Viessmann looking at how environmentally-friendly Brits think they are. The results indicate that while, on the whole, we are keen to be green, there is a clear differentiation between age groups. On a range of criteria, over 54s consider themselves to be the most ecological generation, while 18-24-year olds (the youngest group surveyed) appear to be the least conscientious about green issues.

Bad habits

A total of 36% of the 1,000 UK adults surveyed recalled buying single-use plastic items over the previous week, with 18-24-year olds most likely and over 54s least likely to have done so. A sizeable 42% of 18-34-year olds also confessed to having discarded unwanted food in the same time period, compared to just one in four of the over 54s and one in three people across all age groups.

Eighteen to 24-year-olds were more than twice as likely as over 54s to admit to putting recyclable items in the general waste bin. While just over half (51%) claimed to be making an effort with recycling and waste management, this was significantly lower than the 70% of over 54s that made the same assertion. Adults under 34 were also more than four times more likely to confess to dropping litter than the oldest age group, although only a small proportion of respondents (4.5% and 1% respectively) acknowledged doing so in the previous week. Young adults also owned up to being less conscientious about unplugging, or switching off at the wall, electrical items when not in use.

“It’s possible that people’s concerns for environmental issues increase as they get older or the purchasing habits of the young tend to lean to prepackaged goods,” commented Darren McMahon, marketing director of Viessmann in the UK. “Or perhaps younger people are just more willing to admit their bad habits!”

When it comes to eating red meat, however, the age trend is reversed. People between 18-24 consumed less red meat than all other age groups, with only one in five having eaten it more than twice in the previous seven days, compared to over a third (35%) of over 54s.

Education around government eco schemes

A number of government schemes exist offering funding to consumers to help them adopt a greener lifestyle, however the research suggests greater education about them is needed. Most respondents (79%) declared they lacked some knowledge about these types of grants, while only 2% stated they had already used or planned to use such a scheme.

“We’re encouraged by these survey results, particularly given the recent launch of the government’s Green Homes Grant Scheme, which contributes to the cost of installing heat pumps, solar thermal and biomass boilers, in addition to other energy saving home improvements,” continued McMahon. “Two thirds of UK adults would consider switching to renewable energy or paying to off-set their carbon emissions – that’s an impressive level of enthusiasm. Once people know about initiatives like these, they will have an even stronger incentive to take steps to green their home and potentially reduce their energy bills at the same time.”

Image – Over a third of Brits admit to wasting food and purchasing products containing single-use plastic packaging, according to research conducted by heating systems manufacturer Viessmann looking at how environmentally-friendly Brits think they are.

Image – A sizeable 42% of 18-34-year olds also confessed to having discarded unwanted food in the same time period, compared to just one in four of the over 54s and one in three people across all age groups.

Image – Over a third of Brits admit to wasting food and purchasing products containing single-use plastic packaging, according to research conducted by heating systems manufacturer Viessmann looking at how environmentally-friendly Brits think they are.

Image – The Viessmann survey showed that people try to be good to the environment but sometimes forget to do the right things.

About Viessmann Ltd.

Viessmann is a leading international manufacturer of domestic and commercial heating and cooling systems, with UK headquarters in Telford, Shropshire. The German family-owned business was founded in 1917 and employs over 12,300 members. Co-CEO Maximilian Viessmann represents the fourth generation of the Viessmann family. The company’s vision is to create living spaces for future generations.