Number of positive answers in the question:
Did you seperate most of your waste for recycling?
Two-thirds of Europeans separate most of their waste for recycling
Around two-thirds of Europeans say they have separated most of their waste for recycling (65%), while at least one third have bought local products (43%), cut down their energy consumption (35%) and avoided single-use plastic goods other than plastic bags (34%). Around a quarter have cut down their water consumption (27%), chosen a more environmentally friendly way of travelling (24%) and have avoided buying over-packaged products (24%).
Around a fifth of people have bought products marked with an environmental label (19%) and used their car less (18%). A small proportion of respondents (8%) say that they have undertaken none of these activities in the past six months.
The question wording and the list of items have been modified from previous surveys and, as a result, findings are not comparable. However, it can be noted that separating most of your waste for recycling (72%) was the most mentioned action also in 2014. In addition, cutting down energy consumption (52%), cutting down water consumption (37%) and choosing local products (now buying local products) (35%) were among the five most mentioned actions also in the previous survey.
In 23 of the 28 Member States, the most common environmental activity is separating waste for recycling. In some of these countries, this is by far the most common activity. For example, 63% of respondents in Portugal say they have done this in the past six months, while just 32% have done the next most common activity (cutting down water consumption). A similar pattern can be seen in Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia: in each of these countries, the proportion that has separated waste for recycling is higher by at least 25 percentage
points, compared with the next most common activity.
In the other five countries, the most common activity is buying local products: Austria (64%), Latvia (63%), Estonia (56%), Bulgaria (48%) and Romania (45%).
In all but five countries, the majority of respondents say they have separated most of their waste for recycling in the past six months. The exceptions are Bulgaria (where only 17% have done this), Romania (29%), Croatia (44%), Latvia (45%) and Austria (49%). By contrast, there are seven countries where at least three-quarters of respondents have separated most of their waste for recycling: Sweden (87%), the Netherlands (82%), Slovenia (81%), France (81%), Luxembourg (79%), Finland (77%) and the UK (76%). In broad terms, a geographical pattern can be observed, whereby respondents in northern and western EU countries are the more likely to have separated waste for recycling.
Analysing the results for the other response options, the following can be observed:
§ Respondents in the Netherlands (52%) and Sweden (49%) are the most likely to say they have cut down their energy consumption, while those in Slovakia (14%) and Croatia (15%) are the least likely to have done this.
§ Sweden (61%), the Netherlands (54%) and Germany (49%) have the highest proportions that have avoided single-use plastic goods other than plastic bags, while the lowest proportions can be seen in Romania (14%) and Croatia (17%).
§ Respondents in Belgium (38%), Spain, France and Luxembourg (all 37%) are the most likely to have cut down their water consumption, while respondents in Lithuania (12%) and Estonia (13%) are the least likely to have done this.
§ Respondents in Sweden (55%) and the Netherlands (50%) are the most likely to have chosen a more environmentally-friendly way of travelling, with relatively large proportions also seen in Finland (42%) and Latvia (41%). The lowest proportions are seen in Portugal (8%) and Cyprus (10%).
§ Austria (39%), Germany and Luxembourg (both 37%) have the highest proportions that have avoided buying over-packaged products, while the lowest proportions can be found in Portugal (11%), Poland (12%) and Cyprus (13%).
§ Respondents in Sweden (71%) are much more likely to have bought products marked with an environmental label than those in any other country. The proportion is also relatively high in Denmark (52%). Respondents in Bulgaria and Portugal (both 4%) are the least likely to have done this.
§ Those in the Netherlands (32%) and Sweden (31%) are the most likely to say they have used their car less, while respondents in Portugal (4%) are the least likely to have done this.