Authors: Rebekah Phillips and Sylvia Rowley
Extract from Executive Summary
This report from Green Alliance is about how government could help us to live more sustainably through a better understanding of human behaviour. We have focused on resource use in the home: the energy and water we use, and the waste we create and dispose of, because these are sources of some significant environmental pressures. The home is also important to us as social beings; it helps to give us identity, and is the place where we form long-standing behaviours and habits.
The report begins by exploring the current state of affairs. How green are our households? As well as looking at national data we drew on insights from in-depth research with six households across the UK, reflecting a variety of circumstances and lifestyles. Researchers filmed the householders going about their daily lives at home (at the time they were unaware of what the research was about) and we subsequently interviewed them about their behaviours associated with energy, water and waste. We were curious to know the extent to which they are affected by competing pressures and signals, and whether existing policy helps or hinders them in making good environmental choices.
Our research revealed a marked difference between action on energy, water and waste. Recycling appears to have become reasonably normal across all of the households, and there is a broad awareness of the need for energy saving, though we found relatively low levels of action. But the households had almost no knowledge of the need to save water, and were confused about how this could be done.
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