London - When it comes to recycling, women are definitely the greener sex.

A survey found that almost 70 percent of women who live alone dispose of refuse in an environmentally-friendly way compared with 58 percent of single men.

That figure rises to nearly 80 percent for mixed-sex couples, suggesting women will be the driving force when it comes to sorting and disposing of wrapping paper, boxes, bottles and Christmas leftovers.

The difference in attitudes towards saving our planet’s resources emerged in Understanding Society, a survey of 5,000 single people and couples led by PhD student Hazel Pettifor, of Essex University.

“Women are probably doing more than their share,” she said.

“In the same way that housework tasks are often split, with the women taking on the daily, routine activities, it is likely that women are emptying and rinsing out containers, removing lids and sorting waste. Their menfolk typically 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.”

Buying and cooking food accounts for about 60 percent of all household waste.

That means that whoever does the cooking also decides what ends up in landfill sites.

Men still spend significantly less time on housework than the woman in their lives.

That trend is repeated in single households where women do an average of 12 hours of housework a week compared to eight for men.

The British government has set an ambitious target of recycling 50 percent of all waste by 2020. England and Wales manages to recycle 41.5 percent now.

That figures drops to 40 percent in Northern Ireland and 37 percent in Scotland.

While are increasingly viewing recycling as essential, the best way to improve the figures is to target green messages at men, the study concludes.

Friends of the Earth estimates that 80 percent of all household waste is recyclable. - Daily Mail