If I asked you to picture someone who recycles, you might come up with an image of an idealistic young naturelover—someone who has the time and energy to take a personal interest in the environment. At the very least, you’d probably picture more Earth mother than soccer mom. But a new study from the University of Granada suggests you’d be wrong. Because scientists there have found that housewives are more ecologically aware than undergrads…in that they’re more willing to recycle.
The researchers assessed the recycling skills of some 500 university students and 150 homemakers. And they found that the housewives separate glass from their garbage more often than the students—even though students say they’re pro-environment. So why are housewives better friends to the planet than students? The researchers say that maybe it’s because it’s easier for them. Students have to haul their vast stockpiles of recyclables some distance to the proper receptacle, whereas housewives presumably just deposit their bottles at the curb. The researchers suggest that students could be encouraged to recycle by programs that emphasize how recycling is an ethical imperative for those who care about the earth. Or maybe the schools could just put a few extra recycling bins in the halls.