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A recent study funded by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and conducted by the University of Essex, shows that men, particularly those who live alone, are the least likely to recycle their household goods than anyone else in the UK.

The study, named “Patterns of Household Practice, An Examination into the Relationship between Housework and Waste Separation for Households in the United Kingdom” found that just 58% of single men recycled their empty packaging such as food packets and plastic bags, while 69% of women living alone said they recycled their waste and unwanted items.

More than 2,000 single men and women and 3,000 couples took part in the survey, which asked about housework routines and recycling habits, and Ladies, if you think you are doing more than your fair share, you could have a point!

Hazel Pettifor, who led the study said, “Women are probably doing more than their share.” She went on to say, “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 men folk make the fortnightly trip to the bottle bank or put the bins out.”

Seventy-nine percent of mixed-sex couples said that they did separate their waste for recycling, with men playing an active role, but the results of the survey indicate that this does not guarantee an equal workload, and that women are more willing and committed to recycling than their male partners.

With the UK government setting “ambitious” recycling targets for us all to meet by 2020 (50% of all domestic waste), it seems male focused recycling messages could be the way forward, if men are to become less “rubbish” at recycling.

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