Frugal Family

Britons Want To Be Less Wasteful To Save Money, Not The Planet

  • When it comes to being less wasteful, just three of the regions in the UK care more about helping the environment than saving money or optimising space
  • Britons’ main motivating factor for wanting to be less wasteful is to save money
  • UK residents throw away 15% of their weekly food shop, wasting £500 per year

More than 3,000 residents in the UK were polled by the team at in a bid to determine just how wasteful the UK is as a nation.

43 per cent of UK residents polled admitted that they consider themselves to be wasteful, however 63 per cent want to make a change and do better in order to be less wasteful throughout 2019.

What’s more, while one third of Britons state that they want to be less wasteful in order to reduce their environmental impact, more than two thirds admitted that their main motivating factor is to save money.  When broken down by region, the top motivating factor for being less wasteful in 2019 was found to be:

  • Scotland – saving money (51%)
  • North West – saving money (57%)
  • North East – helping the environment (38%)
  • Yorkshire – saving money (38%)
  • Northern Ireland – saving money (51%)
  • West Midlands – to optimise space in the home (38%)
  • East Midlands – helping the environment (52%)
  • Wales – saving money (36%)
  • South West – to optimise space in the home (47%)
  • South East – to optimise space in the home (43%)
  • East of England – saving money (47%)
  • London – helping the environment (57%)

When asked to list the ways in which they were wilfully wasteful, it was found that the UK as a whole throws away 15% of their weekly food shop, equating to £504.92 a year. Those in the South East throw more of their weekly shop away than any other region (25%), with those in the West Midlands being the least wasteful, binning just 5% of their weekly food shop.

The top wasteful habit per region was also revealed, with the results as follows:

·        London – Open full size bottles of wine/prosecco and drink only a glass (89%)

·        North East – Buy bags for life and don’t take them shopping and end up using single use carriers (84%)

·        North West – Throw recyclable items into the dustbin (83%)

·        East of England – Drive to places they could easily walk/cycle to (82%)

·        Scotland – Shower for longer than they need to (80%)

·        Wales – Overuse central heating and have the thermostat set too high (79%)

·        West Midlands – Hoard items they could make money from (e.g. old tech/gadgets, collectibles, etc.) (76%)

·        East Midlands – Allow food to go off because they don’t fancy eating it (73%)

·        South East – Physically throwing money in the bin (coppers, other coins, etc.) (73%)

·        South West – Leave lights on in rooms they are not using (72%)

·        Northern Ireland – Spend most money on clothes they never wear (71%)

·        Yorkshire & Humberside – Use the dishwasher for a couple of items (70%)

Jack Webster, spokesperson for, commented:

“It’s a shame to see that, for the majority, the environment isn’t the biggest motivating factor for wanting to be less wasteful, considering there has never been a wider awareness on how the smallest changes can have massive longterm positive effects, as we have seen with the charge for carrier bags. But ultimately, whatever their reasoning for wanting to be less wasteful, it will have a positive impact.

“Making even the smallest lifestyle tweaks, anything from getting a food waste bin to buying fruit and veg without packaging, can have multifaceted benefits; not only reducing the waste at landfill waiting to degrade, it cuts down the amount of water that goes to waste, and recycling particularly means less things need to be manufactured to meet consumer needs, meaning less resources burned. And where you are making changes like remembering to switch off the lights or recycle your old phone, you can even see benefits on your bank balance!”

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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