BRIGHTON IS BRITAIN'S GREENEST TOWN - BUT SCOTS DO MOST BAG RECYCLING
· Southern England eats most organic food
· Scotland recycles most plastic carrier bags
· East Midlands uses most eco-friendly detergents· West Country uses most energy saving light bulbs
A comprehensive study of consumer buying behaviour has revealed that Brighton is Britain's greenest place to shop.
The figures compiled by ASDA show that consumers across the UK are becoming more environmentally aware, but shopping habits differ considerably depending on where you live.
ASDA analysed sales statistics for all of its stores throughout the UK, measuring each town's green credentials against five key indicators*. It found that people living in trendy Brighton eat twice as much organic produce as any other town in the UK.
They also top the list when it comes to buying recycled paper toilet rolls. Nottingham was a close second to Brighton, with green-minded consumers in the East Midlands using the most eco-friendly detergents. It was also the most consistent performing town appearing in the top ten list for each of the five green categories (see table below).
However shoppers north of the border in Scotland are ten times more likely to use a reusable carrier bag than those living in the south of England, while those in the West Country have switched on to the benefits of energy saving light bulbs in their thousands.
Ian Bowles, environment manager at ASDA said: "Customers throughout Britain are turning greener, but where you live makes a big difference to what's top of your 'eco' shopping list. "The Scots are doing their bit to save plastic by reusing their old carrier bags, while shoppers in the South insist on eating organic fruit and veg.
By comparison shoppers in the West Country spend their green pounds on energy saving light bulbs." Some regional differences in consumer behaviour can be easily explained. For instance MSPs in Scotland recently rejected a plan to charge a 10p levy on plastic carrier bags at supermarket checkouts.
The publicity surrounding the debate has had a direct impact on local shopping habits - three of the UK's top four towns for reusable 'bags for life' are Scottish. Sales of organic food are much higher in the South East of England where the sector is well established (the UK's first ever organic restaurant, Hugo's, opened in London in 1995).
By comparison shoppers in Northern Ireland prefer to buy 'local' produce, and won't insist on it being 'organic'. Ian added: "Going green means different things to different people but our research shows it is becoming more main stream.
"But customers tell us that 'doing the right thing' shouldn't cost the earth - that's why we're determined to help drive down prices wherever we can."
This year ASDA has tripled its organic range to 1000 products, and changed the way it sources fish (amid concerns about depleted stocks). It has also committed to send nothing to landfill by 2010 and embarked on a complete review of its own label packaging to reduce the amount of household rubbish shoppers throw away each year.