27 September 2022 at 18:50 (GMT) Download PDF
61% of Brits believe they have a responsibility to live a sustainable lifestyle - 58% describe being environmentally conscious as a ‘badge of honour’
52% of Brits believe it is socially unacceptable to not be environmentally friendly - 54% admit they would now be embarrassed to be seen as living unsustainably
Recycling (52%), taking reusable bags shopping (47%), eating less meat (32%), and avoiding single-use plastics (30%) are among the most common eco-friendly acts carried out today
However, just 19% of Brits travel by train more often in a bid to save the planet from harmful emissions – in part, because only 17% are aware that switching one long-distance car or plane journey for train travel would be a significant benefit to the environment
Four out of five (79%) Brits are greener than they were 10 years ago, with three out of five believing they have a responsibility to live a sustainable lifestyle (61%) and that being environmentally conscious is a ‘badge of honour’ (58%), according to research revealed today.
Trainline, Europe’s leading train and coach app, surveyed 2000 adults from across the UK and discovered that the UK is 29% greener than it was 10 years ago, with Brits making more sustainable choices than ever before. Indeed, the average Brit now carries out 369 eco-friendly acts per year – more than one per day - compared to 286 a year a decade ago. Nowadays, the majority (52%) believe it is now socially unacceptable to not be environmentally friendly and half (54%) admit they would be embarrassed to be seen as living unsustainably.
Three out of five (62%) Brits credit these improvements to having a better understanding on how to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle than ever before. A quarter (26%) say that social media has motivated them to make a difference, while 27% claim campaign groups such as Extinction Rebellion have convinced them to change their habits.
55% of Brits are proud to ‘do their bit’ to help the planet and this has led to huge strides being made over the last decade. The majority (52%) of Brits recycle, compared to just 34% 10 years ago, and a third (32%) are eating less meat – compared to only 13% 10 years ago. In addition, half (47%) take reusable bags shopping, 30% avoid single-use plastics, and a quarter (26%) never use takeaway coffee cups.
However, although Brits are making great efforts to implement everyday green habits, the research discovered that the UK has a limited understanding of which eco-friendly acts have the biggest impact on the environment, leading comparatively few to reconsider their choice of transport.
Just 17% of Brits believe that swapping one long-distance car or plane journey for train travel would have a significant positive impact on the environment. In part, this is because most (53%) are unaware that cars have a higher carbon footprint than trains and three out of five (60%) do not know that travelling by plane emits seven times more CO2 per passenger kilometre than by train.
As a result, only a fifth (19%) of Brits are currently making efforts to travel by train more often in a bid to save the planet from harmful emissions. Indeed, just a quarter (25%) are planning to cut down on non-essential travel in the next 10 years, with only 23% trying to drive less in the future and one in five (19%) preparing to take fewer flights for their holidays.
It is fantastic to see that the UK is motivated to take responsibility for improving the environment and this has led to a wide range of lifestyle changes to live more sustainably. However, we were shocked so many Brits are unaware of how beneficial swapping just one long-distance car or plane journey to train would be to the planet.
We know that taking the train instead of driving creates 70% less CO2 on average. At Trainline, we want to raise awareness of the impact your travel choices can have on the environment, and ensure that we make train travel as easy and accessible as possible, with the aim of encouraging more people to travel by rail.
Mike Hyde, Chief Data Officer at Trainline
Two out of five (37%) Brits say that providing a better future for the next generation is their biggest motivator for living a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that Gen-Z are most likely to be vocal about their desire to protect the environment, leading four out of five (79%) to recall that they had talked to loved ones to try to help them live more sustainably.
A fifth (21%) of 18-34-year-olds believe that living sustainably is the most important factor in their lifestyle – equal to how much money they have in the bank (21%) – and two out of five (41%) claim that they would happily pay more for their clothes and food to be sustainably sourced.
In a separate study, Trainline found that 7 out of 10 (70%) Brits would like to continue making changes to their lifestyle to be more sustainable, with half (47%) admitting that they feel guilty about the negative impact they might have on the environment.
Gen-Z are particularly motivated to make changes as two-thirds (66%) of 18–30-year-olds say they have changed their lifestyle to reduce their impact on climate in the past year alone. Half (49%) have switched to travelling by train instead of another mode of transport at least once in the last 12 months, to reduce the carbon footprint of their journey.
10 ‘GREEN ACTS’ THAT BRITS ARE DOING TO LIVE SUSTAINABLY*:
- Recycle - 52% (vs 34% 10 years ago)
- Take reusable bags shopping - 47% (vs 22% 10 years ago)
- Put on extra layers instead of turning on the heating - 41% (vs 20% 10 years ago)
- Reusable water bottles - 39% (vs 16% 10 years ago)
- Use colder washing cycles - 35% (vs 12% 10 years ago)
- Eat less meat - 32% (vs 13% 10 years ago)
- Cut down on non-essential travel - 31% (vs 13% 10 years ago)
- Avoid using single-use plastics - 30% (vs 12% 10 years ago)
- Take fewer flights - 24% (vs 11% 10 years ago)
- Travel by train more often - 19% (vs 10% 10 years ago)
Notes to editors:
Trainline commissioned OnePoll to survey 2,000 adults across the UK between 07.09.22 – 09.09.22. Respondents were asked to recall their habits from 10 years ago.
Trainline’s Pride in Rail Report surveyed 2,500 adults across the UK between 04.04.22 – 21.04.22.
Travelling by plane emits seven times more CO2 per passenger kilometre and taking the train instead of driving creates 70% less CO2 on average: Calculations are based on:
Plane = Domestic flight with radiative forcing 0.24455 kg CO2/passenger km
Car = average petrol car 0.17363 kg CO2/km / 1.5 (average passenger loading for petrol cars based on DFT statistical data set for vehicle mileage and occupancy) = 0.1157533 kg CO₂/passenger km
Train = National Rail 0.0351 kg CO2/passenger km
Statistics and conversion factors published in the government’s greenhouse gas reporting conversion factors, 2 June 2021 and revised in January 2022
*A selected list of results. The top 10 is below for reference:
1. Recycle - 52% (vs 34% 10 years ago)
2. Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used - 51% (vs 30% 10 years ago)
3. Take reusable bags shopping - 47% (vs 22% 10 years ago)
4. Turn off electrical items when not in use - 47% (vs 25% 10 years ago)
5. Put on extra layers instead of turning on the heating - 41% (vs 20% 10 years ago)
6. Reuse leftover food - 40% (vs 23% 10 years ago)
7. Reusable water bottles - 39% (vs 16% 10 years ago)
8. Use colder washing cycles - 35% (vs 12% 10 years ago)
9. Take shorter showers - 33% (vs 12% 10 years ago)
10. Eat less meat - 32% (vs 13% 10 years ago)
Trainline is the leading independent rail and coach travel platform selling rail and coach tickets to millions of travellers worldwide. Via our highly rated website and mobile app, people can seamlessly search, book and manage their journeys all in one place. We bring together millions of routes, fares and journey times from 270 rail and coach carriers across 45 countries. We help our customers find the best value fares for their journey and smart, real time travel information on the go. Our aim is to make rail and coach travel easier and more accessible, encouraging people to make more environmentally sustainable travel choices.