Sustainability Attitudes Study

Written by Ollie Wilkinson

What’s stopping people from greener living? The facts, stats and spats 

70% of Brits say they want to do their bit to help the planet, but over half admit they don’t maintain their efforts throughout the year.  

From recycling rule rows to gruesome greenwashing, our survey dives into what causes this lack of eco-mmitment. 

The facts and stats:  

  • – Almost two thirds (62%) of Brits say that greenwashing from companies confuses their efforts to be environmentally friendly. 
  • – Over half (56%) think the rules on recycling are complicated, with one in five unconfident about finding up-to-date information for their local area. 
  • – 44% mistakenly presume if they put something in the recycling bin which doesn’t belong there, the recycling site will sort through the rubbish and recycle on their behalf. 
  • – More than one in five people don’t feel confident in educating their children on matters of sustainability (21%). 
  • – Almost 50% throw away out-of-date food at least once a week. 

What’s stopping people from recycling? 

According to our survey, these are the top obstacles that halt people’s eco-conscious efforts: 

  • – Believing their personal actions don’t have enough impact on the planet. 
  • – Confusing recycling guidelines. 
  • – Struggling to access the right information. 

Greenwashing: time to come clean 

No, greenwashing is not about giving your broccoli a sponge bath, but it does muddy the waters of sustainability. Greenwashing is the muggle’s equivalent of Professor Quirrell’s turban: a veil that conceals the shrivelled, evil face of that which should not be recycled. 

Companies who greenwash use misleading marketing and PR to deceive the public into believing they’re doing more to help the planet than they really are. Pretty darn dastardly, right? 

This despicable discombobulation not only conceals unsustainable products and policies, but also confuses the British public, with almost two thirds (62%) saying it impacts their own environmentally friendly behaviour. 

Wondering how to spot a green business that means business? Check I out the BBC’s article on how to detect greenwashing

Recycling rules! But the rules suck. 

Black and brown and grey and green, glass and garden and blue. Wheelie bins are a rainbow, and they’re confusing too. 

Recycling rules differ from region to region, and in some cases, street to street. What you feed a green bin in Manchester could be totally different to one in Nottingham. Heck, some places may not even have green bins. 

It can be wheelie hard (sorry, couldn’t resist) to get the right pick of the litter, and for some, the rules are nothing but a load of rubbish.  

  • – Over half of Brits find recycling rules too complicated and contradictory (56%) 
  • – Almost one in five aren’t confident in finding up-to-date information 
  • – Over a third aren’t sure if their local council recycles all their recyclable waste. 

Recyclable, reusable or just plain undoable? 

Refillable packaging – like our sustainable tea & coffee, return-and-reuse drinks and milk deliveries – preserves energy, emissions, and resources.  

Almost 50% of Brits throw away out-of-date food at least once a week, but refillable containers allow you to only buy what you need. Banishing single-use plastics to Room 101, they also reduce our reliance on landfills and factories, cutting down on both food waste and plastic waste. 

Recyclable materials are more eco-friendly than single-use plastic, but they require additional energy and resources before they can be reused. Check out our blog to learn the many differences between reusing and recycling

Despite their sustainable nature, almost two thirds of Brits don’t specifically shop for products with reusable and recyclable packaging (63%). Why, we hear you ask? Well, in the immortal words of Les Dennis, our survey says… 

  • – Almost one third don’t believe there are enough places providing refillable and reusable options (31%) 
  • – 29% say they don’t have access to refill points nearby 
  • – 16% don’t have the time to use refillable packaging 
  • – 16% forget to bring their containers with them 

The spats 

Forget the age-old classics like who does the washing up or who changes the next diaper. There’s a new hit in the Now That’s What I Call A Row couple’s album. 

30% of people experience arguments at home when it comes to going green, with those in London, Manchester and Cardiff most likely to squabble about what goes in the recycling. 

The solution 

We asked Brits what support the council could offer to support their ambitions to live a greener lifestyle. This is what we found: 

  • – 40% would like the list of items that can be recycled to be broadened. 
  • – 29% think councils could provide better explanations of what happens to their waste. 
  • – 28% want more guidance on how to recycle in their area. 

One doorstep, one giant leap for the planet 

Every sustainable step we make as individuals is a great stride towards a brighter, greener future.  

From return-and-reuse glass-bottled juices to farm-fresh eggs and plastic free baked goods, our milkies deliver eco-friendly groceries to more and more doorsteps every week, showing that there is a growing enthusiasm to shop more sustainably. 

Whether you’re looking for more recyclable groceries, refill centres or a helpful nudge to keep things green, our milkround may be just what you need to keep up with your eco-mmitments, providing: 

  • – A range of fresh groceries in return-and-reuse packaging, including milk, glass-bottled water, tea & coffee, and household products. 
  • Cereal, bread, fruit & vegetables (and much more) in recyclable and compostable packaging. 
  • – Support for much-loved independent farmers, dairies, and suppliers. 
  • – The option to automate regular weekly deliveries, so you don’t have to keep nipping to the shop or worry about remembering your containers. 
  • – Free glass bottle collections (which we then sterilise and reuse), saving you a trip to the recycling bin and the oceans from single-use plastics. 

So far, our milkround has saved over 39 million plastic bottles from landfill. And we’re just getting started. Still unsure if it’s the right move for you? Being on the fence is uncomfortable and can annoy the neighbours, so here are 6 reasons to consider the Modern Milkman.  

Look how much plastic we've saved!

42,750,240

Plastic bottles saved and counting

101,935

Wheelie bins of plastic saved from landfill

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