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Study reveals green credentials of UK households

Research carried out by AXA has revealed that a third of the country believes their homes are significantly contributing to the UK’s carbon footprint.

Of the 3,000 people surveyed in AXA’s study, only 2% said they don’t think their homes contribute to the nation’s carbon footprint, while 13% said the amount is negligible.

In recent years the government and environmental groups have promoted ideas such as washing clothes at 30 degrees and making the switch to energy saving lightbulbs, but AXA’s research has found that factors such as age, location, work situation and the number of people living in a house can play a vital role in how eco-friendly a person is.

Despite a reputation for being eco-conscious, millennials are actually less green than the older generations. Those aged 18-24 years old are two thirds more likely than over-55s to ignore advice on how to make a home more eco-friendly.

This age group is also 15% less likely to worry about how much power they are using at home compared to those aged 55 or over. What’s more, just 32% of 18 to 24 year olds are up to speed with the recycling rules in their area. This compares unfavourably with 68% of over-55s.

Elsewhere, the research revealed the UK’s greenest cities, with residents in Birmingham (84%), Newcastle (82%) and Norwich (82%) the most likely to wash their clothes at 30 degrees, while those in Portsmouth (72%), Liverpool (71%) and Brighton & Hove (68%) were the least likely.

Inhabitants of Chelmsford and Cardiff scored highest on the eco-friendly scale, with Chelmsford residents the most likely to turn the heating down (96%), hang-dry clothes (95%) and turn off the lights when they leave a room (95%). Those living in Cardiff, meanwhile,  are most likely to use their food waste bins (84%), walk short journeys instead of using their cars (85%) and avoid using non-recyclable materials (79%).

Additionally, the study found that smaller households tend to be greener households, with those living with four people twice as likely to be confused by advice on how to be more eco-friendly in the home than those that live alone. Households with four people living in them are also a quarter more likely to say they find waste disposal rules (for example how to dispose of recycling, food waste, general waste, etc) confusing compared to those living alone.

Furthermore, those living alone are 20% more likely to install eco-friendly materials in their homes (if they were made more affordable) compared to those living with four people.

“Despite the considerable amount of information publically available on how to be environmentally friendly at home, some people are still more willing – or able – than others to put these measures in place,” Gareth Howell, executive managing director at AXA Insurance, said.

“Factors such as location, age, working situation or household size can hamper even the best intentions, and we need to understand this so we can become more eco-friendly.”

He added: “Hopefully, this research will make people realise that even small things, such as turning the heating down or installing insulation into their homes, can make a huge difference.”

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