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Women recycle more than men, but couples are best

January 9, 2013

ESSEX, ENGLAND (Jan. 9, 3 p.m. ET) — Couples do more recycling than singles, and single women recycle more than single men, at least in the United Kingdom, according to new research.

Using data from more than 5,000 households as part of the Understanding Society survey, Essex University doctoral student Hazel Pettifor discovered that 79 percent of opposite-sex couples recycle their trash in the U.K. The number drops to 69 percent among women living alone, while only 58 percent of single men recycle.

Recycling is also moving away from being a “green act” in the UK and is now seems to be just a part of housework, Pettifor said in a podcast describing her research. She also said that women are more like to recycle waste away from the kitchen, such as textiles, and are doing more than their fair share of recycling overall.

“In the same way that housework tasks are often split, with the woman of the house taking on the daily, routine activities, it is likely that women are emptying and rinsing out containers, removing lids and labels and sorting waste,” Pettifor told the Guardian, “while their menfolk make the fortnightly trip to the bottle bank or put the bins out.”

The governments in the U.K. want 50 percent of all waste recycled by 2020, the Guardian reported. As of now, recycling rates stand at 41.5 percent in England and Wales, 39.7 percent in Northern Ireland and 37.2 percent in Scotland.