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Millions of Brits can't go green – because they can't afford it

A study of 2000 adults found 59% don't feel they can make any eco friendly changes to their current lifestyle, because their bank balance won't allow it.

The average person has just £159 disposable income per month, but seven in 10 wish they had more to allow them to live a greener lifestyle.

Organic food, electric cars, energy saving bulbs for the home and double glazing are just some of the ‘green’ items Brits would love to buy, but simply can't afford.

And as many as eight in 10 adults say the government should do more to incentivise home owners to help save the planet.

Claire Tracey, chief strategy and sustainability officer for #Nationwide Building Society which carried out the study, said: ‘Financial constraints shouldn’t hold people back from being able to be more eco friendly.

‘Our study shows that the price of ethical and sustainable products prevents many consumers from using them, and that if these products were cheaper, they would be far more accessible.

‘Ultimately, it is up to the government to help incentivise people to go green – regardless of their background, income or financial status – the opportunity should be there for everyone.

‘At Nationwide, we want to help our fifteen million members reduce the carbon footprints of their homes.

‘The government has a key role in providing incentives to make it more affordable to do so.’

The study also found almost half of those polled would love to be able to install solar panels into their home, while a third would buy an environmentally friendly laptop if money allowed.

A quarter would like to have organic towels and bedding, while other small purchases such as eco friendly dishwasher tablets, compostable bin liners and recycled toilet paper are wanted but off limits due to the cost.

Brits would also like to install low flow showerheads (17%), purchase a solar powered lawn mower (30%) and have solar powered charging stations for gadgets (33%) – but can’t afford to splash out on such ‘luxuries’.

It emerged six in 10 adults wish they had enough money to make significant changes to their home that would help the planet, with the average adult estimating they would need to fork out an additional £50 a month to make a difference.

Other barriers stopping us from going green include an unwillingness to change (25%) and not really understanding how to alter behaviour (24%).

But the cost of goods is the overwhelming factor, with 43% saying the price of buying locally and ethically is unobtainable for many.

The study, carried out via Onepoll, found there is a general willingness among 94% of adults to try and help the planet, when money allows.

More than half of Brits will walk rather than drive at any given opportunity, and a third are making a conscious effort to eat less meat.

Taking reusable carrier bags shopping has become the norm for 61% of adults, while two-thirds try to recycle when they can.

And just under half of those polled try to turn off all household technology when not using.

Other methods commonly adopted include avoiding buying plastic when possible, having a compost bin and getting the food shopping delivered.

But sadly, 48% would definitely make more effort to be eco friendly if it didn’t cost so much money, and 43% are worried how their current shopping choices might impact the environment and future of the planet.

Claire Tracey, from Nationwide, added: ‘We do all we can to encourage people to make their homes environmentally friendly.

‘For example, the Green Additional Borrowing mortgage product enables people to make affordable improvements to their home such as those highlighted in the survey – like, better insulation, new windows, solar panels, even electric car charging stations and so on.

‘We mare also passionate about people having a fair chance to go green, and so have introduced cheaper rates for green home improvements in the hope this goes some way to helping those who might not otherwise have enough cash to invest in these sorts of changes.’

Green products we want – but can’t afford

1. Solar panels

2. An electric vehicle

3. Organic or locally sourced food

4. Eco laptop/touch screen computer

5. Solar powered charging station

6. Solar powered lawn mower

7. Organic or locally sourced drinks

8. Double glazing

9. Organic bedding

10. Organic towels

11. Recycled floor mats

12. Eco friendly phone cases

13. Eco friendly washing powder

14. Low flow showerheads

15. Eco friendly dishwasher tablets

16. Compostable bin liners

17. Recycled toys

18. Recycled toilet paper

19. Recycled paper

20. Energy saving light bulbs


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