Over-three quarters of Brits feel they are greener than they were 10 years ago

Over three-quarters of Brits believe they are living greener lifestyles than they were 10 years ago – with recycling, and taking reusable bags shopping, the top green habits that have increased in the last decade.

The number of people using reusable water bottles has more than doubled over the past 10 years, from 16% to 39%, according to the poll of 2,000 adults.

And a third of Brits (32%) are now eating less meat, compared to just 16% a decade ago.

The average adult typically carries out 369 eco-friendly acts a year – more than one per day – compared to just 286 a year a decade ago.

More than three in five (61%) feel they have a responsibility to live a sustainable lifestyle, while 58% see being environmentally conscious as a “badge of honour”.

In fact, Brits typically claim to be 29% greener than they were 10 years ago, as they make more sustainable choices than ever before.

It also emerged over half (52%) believe it is no longer socially acceptable to turn a blind eye to environmental issues – while 54% would be embarrassed to be seen as living unsustainably.

And nearly two-thirds (62%) feel they have a better understanding of how to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle than ever before.

One in four credit social media for motivating them to make a difference, while 27% claim campaign groups such as Extinction Rebellion have convinced them to change their habits.

However, the research commissioned by Trainline, identified a limited understanding of which eco-friendly acts have the biggest impact on the environment.

Just 17% believe swapping one long-distance car or plane journey for train travel would have a significant positive impact on the environment.

And over half (53%) are not aware cars have a higher carbon footprint than trains, while 60% didn’t know travelling by plane can emit seven times more CO2 per passenger kilometre than by train.

As a result, only one in five (19%) are currently making efforts to travel by train more often in a bid to save the planet – and just a quarter plan to cut down on non-essential travel in the next 10 years.

Mike Hyde, chief data officer at Trainline, said: “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 people are unaware of how beneficial swapping just one long-distance car or plane journey to train would be to the planet.”

The study, carried out through OnePoll, also found more than a third (37%) said providing a better future for the next generation is their biggest motivator for living a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

And Gen-Z are most likely to be vocal about their desire to protect the environment, with 79% having conversations with friends and family to try to help them to live more sustainably.

But one in five 18-34-year-olds (21%) believe living sustainably is the most important factor in their lifestyle – equal to how much money they have in the bank.

And 41% claim they would “happily” pay more for their clothes and food to be sustainably sourced.

It comes after a separate study of 2,500 adults, by Trainline, found two-thirds of 18–30-year-olds have changed their lifestyle to reduce their impact on climate change in the past year alone.

And almost half (49%) have switched to travelling by train instead of another mode of transport at least once during the past 12 months, to reduce the carbon footprint of their journey.

Mike Hyde added: “We know that taking the train instead of driving creates 70% less CO2 on average.

“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.”


  1. Recycle – 52% (compared to 34% 10 years ago)
  2. Take reusable bags shopping – 47% (compared to 22% 10 years ago)
  3. Put on extra layers instead of turning on the heating – 41% (compared to 20% 10 years ago)
  4. Reusable water bottles – 39% (compared to 16% 10 years ago)
  5. Use colder washing cycles – 35% (compared to 12% 10 years ago)
  6. Eat less meat – 32% (compared to 13% 10 years ago)
  7. Cut down on non-essential travel – 31% (compared to 13% 10 years ago)
  8. Avoid using single-use plastics – 30% (compared to 12% 10 years ago)
  9. Take fewer flights – 24% (compared to 11% 10 years ago)
  10. Travel by train more often – 19% (compared to 10% 10 years ago)