Start of main content

Easy Being Green

  • The majority of UK adults feel a sense of positivity when they do something sustainable
  • However, women (60%) feel more of an individual responsibility to address climate change than men (51%)
  • Despite this, there is an overall knowledge gap of smart tech in the home – a quarter (23%) of women have a good understanding vs. a third (33%) of men

A OnePoll survey of 2,000 adults found that people get a feeling of joy from sorting the recycling into correct boxes (45%), batch cooking to minimise food waste (28%), and purchasing second-hand clothes (21%). Other satisfying tasks include buying eco-friendly tech (9%), cycling or walking instead of driving (35%), and upcycling (30%).

Those polled revealed they also feel a sense of purpose from growing their own fruit and vegetables (26%), showering instead of having a bath (31%) and even things like only filling the kettle with as much water as needed (36%).

However, a further ‘Green Preferences’ study of 3,000 adults found more women (60%) than men (51%) feel a responsibility to address climate change. The research suggested women are much more likely to regularly engage in ‘green’ behaviours including recycling plastic (86% vs 79%) and using reusable water bottles (59% vs 47%). Women (65%) are also more willing to choose a ‘green’ delivery slot than men (55%) and avoid products with unnecessary packaging for environmental reasons (52% vs 46%). 

Despite this, a greater number of males say they have a better understanding of eco-friendly tech like energy usage monitors – 33% compared to 23%.

The IET’s green energy systems expert Olivia Carpenter-Lomax said: “Green technology has huge potential to make a real difference in our lives and to the planet.

I am passionate about levelling up our collective understanding of how we can do this. We’re starting the process of helping the public to get to grips with what’s out there by revealing a list of 5 ways to think about being green.

From smart meters to monitor your energy expenditure to solar panels generating energy for your home and the wider grid – adopting existing tech can have a significant positive impact on the wider world around us.”

But despite the differences, the majority (82%) of all those polled by OnePoll believe every single person has a role to play in helping the environment. And 87% feel there is still lots more they could do to be more eco-friendly – including turning electricals off at the socket when not in use (37%) and wasting less water (34%).

Monitoring energy use more closely (31%) is another way, as is using eco-friendly alternative methods of transport more often (17%) and only using energy-saving bulbs (24%).

The biggest hindrances to being greener include the cost of some eco-friendly products (38%), confusion over what is or isn't good for the environment (26%) and lack of time (25%).

However, two thirds (67%) believe technology is crucial in helping them to be greener and keep their carbon footprint to a minimum.

To read the full report, please visit:




Notes to Editor

Top 20 – Green Glows

  1. Putting the recycling out
  2. Sorting the recycling into correct boxes
  3. Re-using leftovers to cut down on food waste
  4. Only filling the kettle with as much water as needed
  5. Cycling or walking to places rather than drive where possible
  6. Monitoring the heating
  7. Showering rather than having a bath
  8. Washing out the recycling
  9. Upcycling household items
  10. Washing clothes on a low-temperature wash
  11. Cooking in batches to cut down on food waste
  12. Home growing fruit and vegetables to reduce food waste
  13. Buying second-hand clothes
  14. Using eco-friendly cleaning products
  15. Eating eco-friendly foods
  16. Using eco-friendly toiletries
  17. Inspiring others to be green
  18. Buying refurbished or second-hand tech
  19. Having a vegetarian diet
  20. Buying eco-friendly tech

5 ways to be green 2021

  • Shout about wanting environmental choices: Making environmentally ethical decisions will be made a whole lot easier if they are accessible (and understandable!). The more you ask for better choices and more transparency, the more industry, producers and the Government will need to listen.
  • Jump on the electric vehicle bandwagon: pretty soon (2030), we will not be able to buy petrol or diesel cars. Now is the time to get an EV if you can or start thinking about the transition to EV.
  • Don’t forget the ‘long established’ green technologies; insulation, upgrading windows and draft proofing: The fabric of your home can make a huge difference to the energy it takes to keep it at a comfortable temperature. It really is one of the most important things we can do and if you’re renting, there are schemes you might want to make your landlord aware of.
  • Now is the time to really start planning how you will heat your home without burning fossil fuels - green tariffs as the easiest thing you can do but that’s just the start.
  • Replace travelling for meetings with logging in from home: with COVID, many of us have experienced the benefits of working more flexibly and from home. While the in-person brainstorming workshop might not be dead, seeing remote meetings as a viable alternative will have the added benefit of cutting down on travel by road and air.

The research was conducted by independent market research agency Opinium on behalf of the IET. Fieldwork was conducted between the 15th July 2020 and 7th August 2020. The survey achieved 3,337 responses in the UK (those aged 18+). Additional surveying was undertaken in Australia (1,000 responses), China (1,000 responses), Germany (1,000 responses), India (1,000 responses), the UAE (400 responses) and the USA (1,000 responses). 

OnePoll surveyed 2,000 respondents from 23rd-25th November 2020. The survey was conducted online via the OnePoll website, polling our panel who are paid to participate in surveys. Respondents were targeted on a nationally representative basis for age, gender and region.

About the IET

  • We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.
  • We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth means we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • Interview opportunities are available with our spokespeople from a range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and diversity in engineering.
  • For more information, visit
  • Follow the IET on Twitter.


Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)7725 498 129

Sophie Lockhart
Senior Communications Executive
T: +44 (0)7872 844 422