Barriers to Sustainability: Our Survey Says 

Written by Justin Thompson

So, what’s your New Year’s resolution? Is it starting a gym class? Eating your five-a-day? Reading some classic literature? It’s safe to say, January is when we try to put our best foot forward for the year, but did you know 80% of resolutions are abandoned by the end of the month?  

For those looking to go green and help out the planet, there may be more things to worry about than just ticking off a resolution. So, what exactly makes going sustainable so difficult? Read on to find out more.  

The facts (generally speaking) 

Let’s set the scene. Are people even interested in becoming more sustainable? We’ve commissioned a report asking people aged 18-65+ about their thoughts, and here’s what we’ve found.  

  • – 86% of people want to help the planet  
  • – 87% think personal actions can have a positive impact on the planet  
  • – Almost 4 in 5 people (79%) think it’s everyone’s responsibility to tackle climate issues  
  • – 59% of people learn the most about the environment and being sustainable online 
  • – Three-quarters of people factor sustainability into their shopping habits  
  • – 7 in 10 people (71%) are very worried about the growing amount of plastic in the world’s oceans 

What do people think is the easiest way to tackle climate issues?  

The results are in! Are any of these options something you and your family already do?  

  • – 75% – reducing plastic 
  • – 69% – recycling 
  • – 64% – reusing and refilling packaging 
  • – 63% – using renewable energy 
  • – 39% – growing your own food 
  • – 36% – using electric vehicles  
  • – 29% – supporting independent suppliers (sign up to our milkround for even more sustainable independents!) 

A green foot forward 

For those planning to do a New Year’s resolution, it’s more than just ticking something off a list – it can be a lifestyle change too. For instance, becoming more sustainable could mean changing the way you shop, how you eat, or even what you wear! That’s why learning how to form a habit and make it stick is super important. 

Based on our research, 75% of people plan on being more sustainable in 2023, with 77% of people asked adapting new sustainable habits. 

What’s more, almost half of those setting New Year’s resolutions think that they’ll keep to it for over two years. As well, 7 in 10 people are confident they’ll keep making sustainable changes throughout their lifetime. We love to hear that! 

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty – what are people planning to do to make this year count?  

We asked: out of these options, what would be your top 2023 sustainable New Year’s resolution? 

  • – 29% – limit plastic use to help reduce ocean waste 
  • – 23% – reducing food waste (this handy veg waste guide can help!) 
  • – 23% – recycle more 
  • – 10% – using refill and reuse glass bottles and containers 
  • – 6% – eat a more sustainable diet (i.e., vegan or flexitarian) 

Sustainability barriers 

As shown above, there’s loads of interest – and ideas – around becoming sustainable in 2023. But why is it so hard to keep a sustainable resolution? We’ve found that 33% of people think that efforts to protect the planet aren’t cost-effective, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Here’s what we found, with answers broken up by age group for all you data wizards.  

We asked: what are the barriers preventing you from keeping up with your sustainable efforts?  

  • – 31% – not enough options for maintaining a sustainable life 
  • – 18% – inconvenience 
  • – 33% – not cost effective 
  • – 15% – hard to access information 
  • – 15% – information is confusing 
  • – 16% – won’t have a big enough impact 

Shopping sustainability during the cost-of-living crisis 

Now, with all those barriers in place as shown above, it’s time to get into the dreaded cost-of-living-crisis. It’s no secret that this time is making everything, including shopping sustainably, even more difficult, adding yet another barrier to becoming more sustainable. Here’s what we found.  

  • – 55% of people say that the cost-of-living-crisis has impacted their ability to be more sustainable 
  • – Over half say that the cost of shopping ethically has increased a huge amount in the last 12 months 
  • – 89% have said that shopping ethically has become more expensive than last year 
  • – 13% don’t think it’s possible to enjoy convenience while still making sustainable choices 
  • – About 67% of people say that price is the most important factor in shopping 
  • – 1 in 5 people say that a product’s carbon footprint is the least important factor when shopping 

So, what now?  

With all the barriers in place, it’s important to find out what people need to make (and keep) their sustainable choices. A New Year’s resolution isn’t just for January after all! 

We asked: what support do you need to keep up with your efforts to help the planet?  

  • – 43% – Better quality resources (I.e., more bins/frequent collections) 
  • – 41% – Better quality guidance on how to recycle 
  • – 37% – More financial incentives 
  • – 34% – Advice on ways to live more sustainably   
  • – 20% – More clean air zones  
  • – 26% – Increased public transport to prevent personal car usage  
  • – 15% – More cycle lanes/cycle friendly roads  

Did you know? 64% are more likely to keep to a sustainable resolution if they partner with a friend. So, get texting! See if any of your friends want to become more sustainable and help keep each other motivated to complete your goals.  

If you know anyone who would also love a convenient and easy way to shop sustainably, refer them to our milkround, and get some money off in the process. 

Here’s to making this year count! 

Now, we’re not going to leave you with all this data and nothing else. Our blog is chock full of articles on green living, sustainability guides, and more! Read one of the articles below to get started. 

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