NEW YORK — How much of an effort do you make to live sustainably? Two out of three Americans have either maintained or increased their sustainability practices over the last year, a new survey suggests.
According to a recent poll of 2,000 respondents, 34 percent believe they currently live an eco-friendlier lifestyle now in 2023 than they did in 2022, while another 32 percent reported that their habits have remained the same. And although lingering effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are still present, one in three people said that within the last year, rising inflation costs have impacted their sustainability habits more than pandemic concerns.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Hydro Flask, also reveals that 79 percent believe they are deeply, actively concerned about the current state of our environment. That’s a small increase from a similar 2021 survey, in which 75 percent of those polled agreed to the same statement — although those who “strongly agree” have remained balanced at around 44 percent. Similarly, compared to the results from the 2021 survey, the percentage of respondents who’ve committed to recycling more frequently or more thoroughly has risen from 48 percent to 56 percent.
Climate change not the biggest concern?
Other popular environmentally-friendly behaviors this past year included swapping single-use items with reusable items (51%), eating less meat or more plant-based foods (43%), and reducing the amount of plastic waste produced (44%) – all of which experienced a similar increase in adoption since the 2021 survey.
And although “climate change or global warming” still ranks high among respondents’ most frequent concerns, it dropped from the No. 1 spot in 2021 (at 57%) to No. 3 in 2023 (at 48%), just behind “air, water and land pollution” (53%) and “deforestation and logging” (48%).
“As seen in this data, pollution continues to be a growing concern in our country and we know that wasted products are a large contributor to this issue,” says Corporate Responsibility Director for Home & Outdoor, Helen of Troy, parent company of Hydro Flask, Indigo Teiwes, in a statement. “In response, we’ve seen a number of brands introduce different recycling, upcycling and product circularity programs. Accessible resources and programs such as these help consumers feel more empowered to not only address their concerns but feel like they’re making a difference.”
Indeed, in 2023, 78 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “If everybody can do the bare minimum (e.g. recycling properly, using a reusable water bottle, etc.) I believe we can make a difference, protect the environment, and avoid the worst of climate change.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean striving to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle is bereft of challenges. In 2021, roughly 67 percent of respondents admitted to using more single-use items as a direct result of the pandemic, fearing possible COVID-19 exposure from reusable items.
This time around, 56 percent believe they’re more sustainable now since the start of the pandemic, compared to 25 percent who say they’re less sustainable than they were previously. Another 49 percent also said they’re behaving more sustainably because of inflation rates.
In addition to believing that reusable items are more sustainable than single-use ones (47%), respondents also felt that reusable items are more affordable (34%), simple to use (31%), and cost-effective (40%).
“Not only is buying single-use plastic water bottles 2,000 times more expensive than drinking water from the tap, but switching to reusable items is one of the easiest ways to reduce your footprint,” says President of Home & Outdoor Larry Witt. “Consumers can help eliminate single-use plastic by opting for a reusable bottle to refill over and over.”
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Hydro Flask on April 27, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).