Posted 7 months ago

How many do you do?

  • Auto Trader’s new survey reveals the UK’s most popular eco-habits, from taking our own shopping bags to air drying clothes 
  • The eco-habits people do less regularly include using a reusable coffee cup and eating less meat
  • Those who drive Lexus and Tesla cars have the best eco-habits

The UK’s electric car champion Auto Trader has surveyed over 1,290 drivers to reveal which green habits the nation is doing the most, and which we are struggling to do regularly.

The results show we’re a nation incentivised by saving money, with the most popular eco-behaviours also being ones that look after the pennies, such as taking our own shopping bags, air drying our clothes and reusing bottles.

In the study, Auto Trader asked drivers how regularly they perform a variety of everyday sustainable habits, with the findings as follows:

The UK’s Ten Most Common Eco-Habits

 Eco-Habit% of Respondents Who Always, or Regularly Do This
1People say they take their own reusable bags when shopping88%
2People say they air dry clothes rather than tumble dry75%
3People say they recycle at home, using kerbside recycling for household items73%
4People use their own reusable water bottle66%
5=People say they switch their washing machine to 30 degrees64%
5=People say they wear more clothes to stay warm than turn up the central heating64%
6People say they recycle items that can’t be recycled at home e.g. batteries, water filters, black food trays, crisp packets etc.62%
7People turn off their computers and TVs, rather than using standby60%
8People use Tupperware or reusable wraps over foil or clingfilm59%
9People drive slower to use less fuel42%
10People buy second hand toys, clothes, appliances, furniture etc. for sustainability reasons34%

The new research reveals people are particularly good at embracing eco-friendly habits which are both easy to incorporate into daily life and which help save money. An impressive 88% of respondents report they take their own bags when shopping. This simple yet effective habit greatly reduces plastic waste, as does using reusable water bottles, which is the fourth most popular eco-habit with a considerable number of adopters (66%).

Eco-practices that also saves on energy bills are very popular, such as air drying clothes instead of using a tumble dryer, and wearing more clothes to save turning on the heating.

The ninth most popular eco-habit is driving slower to use less fuel, with 42% of the UK’s drivers claiming to do it. The driving experts at Auto Trader explain that “Driving above 60mph can burn your car’s fuel quickly, and as such emit more emissions. Driving a bit slower on the motorway, as well as driving more smoothly, like anticipating a corner to avoid sudden braking, will help reduce your car’s emissions.”

Whilst there are many eco-practices that have made it into the UK’s day-to-day behaviour, there is room for improvement…

Five Eco-Habits the UK Could Improve On

  1. Using a reusable coffee cup – only 31% of UK regularly do this
  2. Eating a vegetarian diet – only 20% of UK regularly do this
  3. Researching how sustainable a brand or product is – only 20% of UK regularly do this
  4. Car-sharing on work commutes or school runs – only 17% of UK regularly do this
  5. Using a bike or e-bike instead of car – only 15% of UK regularly do this

Only one in three of the nation report that they regularly take a reusable cup when they buy a hot drink. As well as saving on single use plastic use, this habit usually comes with a financial reward, with the likes of Pret A Manger, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Greggs, Café Nero, and many other coffee shops offering up to 50p when you bring your own cup – which could save regular coffee drinks over £180 a year*! 

Auto Trader’s research also shows that only 20% of the UK avoid eating meat for sustainable reasons, despite David Attenborough’s warnings about deforestation. Online interest in the UK for reducing meat and dairy consumption has fallen by 70% over recent years. According to Google data, in January 2020 there were over 736,000 searches for vegan and vegetarian recipes made in the UK, which has steadily fallen each year, with just 220,000 searches made in January 2023.

The least popular eco-habit is cycling instead of driving, with just 15% of the nation adopting this habit. However, using an e-bike can massively improve your commute, not just in terms of reducing carbon emissions, but by also providing a speedy alternative to sitting in a traffic jam as well as taking away the stress of finding a parking place.

Erin Barker, editorial director at Auto Trader, says: “At Auto Trader we’re passionate about supporting consumers with their environmentally friendly vehicle and journey choices. From upgrading an older petrol car to a newer, cleaner one or switching to an e-bike for your journey to the train station there are plenty of ways we can reduce our environmental impact on the road. It’s encouraging to see from this study how many eco-habits have been adopted into our daily lives and we would love to see more drivers making more environmentally conscious decisions on the road, whether it’s sparking your electric journey with a pre-loved electric car, or simply reducing your car’s emissions with a smoother, slower drive.”

The Drivers with the Best Eco-Habits

The report cross-referenced the cars people drive with their eco-habits to reveal that Lexus drivers and Tesla drivers are making the strongest strides in their eco-behaviour. Lexus drivers frequently carpool, and a high proportion (88%) use public transport over driving in the name of the environment. As well as driving electric cars, Tesla drivers are the drivers more likely to use reusable water bottles, switch their washing to 30 degrees and purchase food with fewer air miles. Porsche, Audi, and Land Rover also had high proportions of their drivers regularly adopting eco-behaviours.

To see the full Greenest Drivers report visit: