The most common new eco-friendly habits we’ve picked up (and kept) during the lockdown
Many of us picked up new habits during Lockdown, whether that was baking more banana bread, finally finishing Couch to 5k, or starting to write that novel you’ve been putting off.
But many people have also been looking towards developing a greener and sustainable life. Lockdown has shown many people that we don’t need as many materialistic things to thrive in life, whether that be fast-fashion for a new outfit every night of the week, or cooking more fresh, local produce.
What are the most popular eco-friendly lockdown habits we’ve picked up?
At Paguro Upcycle, we’ve looked at the top search trends on Google and analysed which search terms increased in line with lockdown, and which are still rising. We based the increase on what searches were like this time last year (w/c August 25th 2019) compared with w/c August 16th 2020.
Have you done any of these?
1 - Eco Food Trends: Growing Your Own
Search term: ‘Grow your own veg’ - 588% increase year on year
This search term began to soar on March 22nd, as lockdown happened and panic buying increased. But as of August 17, Google Search trends are at an all-time high. People develop habits after around 66 days, and this seems to be the year that people are finally starting to grow their own!
2 - Eco Energy Trends: Audits
Search term ‘energy audit’ 434% increase year on year
For many of us, we’re spending far longer at home than we ever had and using more energy while working from home, whether that be on powering up the laptop, using the oven and microwave more, and having the lights on more.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that searches for energy audits, which can help you to understand and reduce your home’s energy use, have increased massively in the last few months.
3 - Sustainable Gardening Trends
Search term: ‘sustainable garden’ - 319% increase year on year
As soon as the schools began to close in March, people with kids realised they needed to keep them busy - very busy. One of the ways people have turned to their garden ties into the growing your own vegetables as we spend more time soaking up the sunshine. While gardening is a sustainable act in itself, there are ways to be more eco-friendly, such as reducing how much water you use, making it more wildlife-friendly, and composting. There’s also been an increase in home-farming, with one charity that rehomes chickens getting more than 50,000 requests since lockdown began.
4 - Ecotravel Trends: People are considering ditching the car and travelling more sustainably
Search term: ‘should I sell my car’ 196% increase year on year
We all noticed the quieter roads during the lockdown, which have started to get busier again now. But with many companies starting to offer full remote working options, including the ability to ‘work from anywhere’ - are cars as necessary as they were once deemed to be? Apparently not, if the recent searches are anything to go by.
5 - Upcycling
Search term: ‘upcycling’ - 176% increase year on year
Upcycling, the method of taking waste materials and turning them into something more desirable (something we know a little about…) has also taken off during lockdown. DIY fashion has taken off, and during the lockdown, people have been using their creativity to see the potential in second-hand items. Whether it’s a mask or a denim jacket, some people are upcycling for themselves, others for their side hustle.
6 - No more plastic bottles
Search term: ‘reusable water bottle’ 174% increase year on year
We all know how damaging for the environment plastic bottles are, but it can be hard to ditch the habit when they’re so convenient - whether you get thirsty at the train station, on a walk or in the supermarket, plastic bottles are there. With us going out less, could it be that more people are realising that they need reusable water bottles for not just the environment, but also for the purse strings?
7 - Eco Shopping Trends: Eating local produce
Search term: ‘local market’ - 172% increase year on year
Most of us know by now that eating local food lowers its carbon footprint. But local produce also has more nutrients, which a shorter time between harvest and delivery, not having to be shipped thousands of miles to be at your dinner table.
When lockdown hit, all major supermarkets ran out of delivery slots for the foreseeable, and many turned to delivery boxes from local greengrocers and suppliers.
8 - Eco Fashion Trends: Selling on Depop and charity shops
Search term: ‘depop’ - 171% year on year increase
Fast fashion has had a major spotlight on it during the lockdown, with fashion giant Boohoo being associated with a coronavirus breakout in one of its alleged suppliers' factories in Leicester. With the desire for a new outfit every weekend almost eradicated during Lockdown, people are hopefully starting to realise the benefits of buying and selling second-hand clothes. Couple this with ‘charity shops’ also increasing by 160% YoY and people are being sensible with their wardrobe clearouts after lockdown.
9 - Eco Gardening Trends: Composting
Search term ‘composting’ 164% increase year on year
For those committed to reducing their food waste and gardening more sustainably, you can’t ignore the benefits of composting. Good things to compost include any vegetable peelings, waste from fruit, tea bags and grass cuttings - items which all would have otherwise been thrown away. Buy a compost bin, or create your own compost heap in the garden - just keep it as far away as possible - it can get stinky!
10 - Eco Travel Trends: Cycling
Search term ‘cycle routes’ 158% increase year on year
Cycling instead of driving or even taking public transport can have massive benefits to the environment. With the World Health Organisation recommending cycling to achieve the minimum daily requirement for exercise while physical distancing, cycling levels rose to staggering new heights during Lockdown, and judging by searches still on the rise, it appears people have stuck to their newfound habit. Hopefully, the recovery from COVID-19 will permanently change the way we travel. You can find some stunning images of cyclers during lockdown here.