The pandemic has made the UK more environmentally conscious but less likely to recycle, according to new research conducted by insurance company Aviva.
According to the survey which was conducted on 4,000 randomly selected UK adults, 52% say they are more environmentally conscious now than pre-pandemic.
However, the survey also revealed that fewer people are recycling or avoiding single-use plastic. In December 2019, 73% of people said they were recycling through local bin collections, whereas in February 2021, this figure had dropped to 51%.
Similarly, in December 2019, 61% of people were avoiding single-use plastic, in February 2021 the figure had fallen to 36%.
The authors of the study have highlighted that some people’s green intentions have been hampered by lockdown restrictions, closures of shops and facilities, and the availability of some goods and services. This in turn may have made people more conscious of their environmental responsibilities, if they were unable to fulfil them.
The latest study also reiterates a trend that overall, older people are more likely to undertake environmentally-friendly actions than their younger counterparts.
The study finds people aged 65+ are most likely to recycle their waste through local bin collections, buy seasonal fruit and vegetables, and avoid single-use plastic.
A notable exception to this relates to people adopting a vegan diet. Over-65s are least likely to be vegan, at just 1% of this age group, while 9% of under-25s say they eat a purely plant-based diet.
Gareth Hemming, managing director of Aviva said: ‘This latest study suggests green ambitions are still strong within the UK, but they appear to have taken a knock. More than half of UK adults say they are even more environmentally conscious as a result of Covid-19 conditions, but the steps taken to support green living have fallen considerably since pre-pandemic days.
‘This may be a result of practical limitations as the closure of shops and services may have hampered their environmental efforts, and we can hope that once people exit ‘survival mode’, their green behaviours will be boosted again.’
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