Women take the lead in recycling with couples most likely to process their domestic waste, according to survey of 5,000 people in the UK. Single women and single men are least likely.
Academics at Essex University questioned people as part of its ‘Understanding Society’ panel which looks at the socio-economic circumstances and attitudes of individuals in 40,000 British households.
Results indicate that 79% of mixed-sex couples recycle their rubbish, while only 69% of women living alone and 58% of men did so.
The survey found that women are more committed recyclers than men in the home, and that recycling campaigns may do well to focus their efforts on men.
Hazel Pettifor, a PhD student who led the study, said: “Women are probably doing more than their share.
“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, while their menfolk make the fortnightly trip to the bottle bank or put the bins out.
“Men appear to need the incentive of kerb-side collection whereas women are prepared to go out of their way to recycle more types of materials.”
The UK’s household recycling target set by the Government is 50% by 2020 – currently at 42% in England and Wales, 37% in Scotland and 40% in Northern Ireland.
Friends of the Earth estimates that up to 80% of our household waste is recyclable.