Is lockdown making us more environmentally friendly?

Brits are hoping to become more environmentally friendly – as a result of lockdown restrictions. A study of 2,000 adults has found 70 per cent feel the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus have had a positive impact on the planet.

This has led to two-fifths planning to continue with some of their lifestyle changes even when social distancing measures are lifted so they can do more to reduce their personal impact on the environment.

After weeks of not really driving, as many as 20 per cent are considering using their car less in the future to cut their carbon footprint, and 27 per cent plan to reduce the amount of rubbish they throw away.

Others intend to eat less or no meat at all, buy fewer clothes, and shop locally once restrictions are relaxed.

It also emerged seven in 10 think that lockdown, which has put limits on work and travel, has had a positive impact on the planet. The research, commissioned by evian, is being released in conjunction with the brand’s announcement of achieving carbon neutral certification.

Shweta Harit, evian global brand VP, said: “The last few weeks have shown how changes to our lifestyles can have a huge environmental knock-on effect.

“The nation is becoming increasingly aware of the fragile state of the planet and it’s interesting to see how people are now looking to do more to address their own carbon footprint once social distancing ends.”

The study also found 69 per cent agreed social distancing has caused them to think more about the health of the planet and the fragile state it’s in.

As many as seven in 10 are now more aware of the human impact on nature, and 59 per cent are more concerned about preserving it.

In fact, more than three-fifths are worried that the impact coronavirus has had on the UK economy might mean companies are less concerned about reaching environmental targets or prioritising green initiatives.

But people plan on taking matters into their own hands as they look to take part in community clear ups once lockdown comes to an end, and using more public transport or walking more.

Almost three quarters also believe working from home has helped reduce their carbon footprint.

Given current circumstances, 28 per cent of people are considering flying less in the future to reduce their impact on the planet and 12 per cent plan on having more ‘staycations’.

However, it’s not just the environment which is benefitting from the current rules in place as nearly three in 10 are speaking to friends and relatives more, while 22 per cent have felt more relaxed.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed what Brits believe to be the ‘silver lining’ to the Covid-19 restrictions.

As many as 63 per cent agreed recognising the importance of key workers, such as the NHS and retail staff, and 21 per cent said taking more care of public spaces are also among the positive changes people have made.

Half of those polled also said this time has allowed people to ‘slow down’, allowing them to pick up new hobbies or spend more time with family at home.

Chris Price