Welcome to Scrap Collector, Waste Dive's Friday round-up of insights and stories you may have missed.
Back in 2016, Waste Dive covered a study that, quite frankly, proved trying to many in and outside of the industry.
"Building on prior findings that men tend to be more concerned than women with gender-identity maintenance, we argue that [the] green-feminine stereotype may motivate men to avoid green behaviors in order to preserve a macho image," concluded research conducted by Aaron Brough, assistant professor at Utah State University, and James E.B. Wilkie, assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame.
In other words, men litter more, recycle less and generally engage in more environmentally destructive behavior (and lose less sleep over it) — all to avoid being "associated with femininity" and to "safeguard their gender identity."
Three years later, as former Waste Dive editor Kristin Musulin put it, things "haven't changed!" According to a new study from Penn State, people are more likely to question a man's sexual orientation if he engages in pro-environmental behaviors coded as "feminine," such as recycling. Women, of course, aren't exempt: Men were more likely to avoid women who engaged in "masculine" eco-friendly behaviors (e.g., caulking windows and, hilariously, donating to a waterfowl sportsman's group).
Overall, said lead author Janet K. Swim, a Penn State psychology professor, "Reflecting the tendency to see environmentalism as feminine, all the people [engaging in pro-environmental behaviors] were rated as more feminine than masculine regardless of the behaviors they did."
That might hold profound societal implications, Swim observed: "If being seen as heterosexual is important to a person, that person may prioritize gender-conforming over gender-nonconforming pro-environmental behaviors in anticipation of how others might see them."
To counter this tendency, Pacific Standard senior staff writer Tom Jacobs suggested, "perhaps some smart entrepreneur should come up with a line of virile satchels adorned with macho-man logos."
Alternatively? Guys, wake up. According to a landmark report released Thursday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the climate crisis is dramatically intensifying land degradation (and vice versa) and threatening food and water security. Mitigating the effects, according to the report, will require meaningful, concerted and immediate action — and that means engaging in more sustainable land use, lessening greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing waste and over-consumption.
Simply put, the planet is running out of time — and men, we guarantee that when that happens, no one is going to care whether that reusable shopping bag makes you look less manly.
AROUND THE WORLD
Man vs. nature (and poetic justice) — CNN
In a strikingly perfect example of toxic masculinity in the age of environmental crisis, a man in Almería, Spain has found himself in hot water after throwing a used refrigerator off a cliff — and filming himself in the act.
The video in question (which features him singing "Recycling...let's go recycle it!" as the fridge tumbles down the slope) went viral — allowing Spain's Guardia Civil to trace the license plate in the shot. And, to prove that the world occasionally works out exactly as you'd like it to, they made him haul the fridge back up the cliff — releasing their own video of his comeuppance.
Testing gravity with heavy objects is something of a hobby for the man, it seems — officials also released a video of him throwing a washing machine downhill. Police are currently investigating the company he was working for, which distributes domestic appliances.
Mexico City banning single-use plastics — Mexico News Daily
Kiss those single-use plastics goodbye, Mexico City. The city, which currently recycles six out of 10 plastic bottles (on par with many European countries), is ramping up its efforts to combat plastic pollution. The government will ban plastic bags effective December 2020 and most other single-use plastics (including cutlery, plates, cotton swabs, balloons, coffee capsules and plastic tampon applicators) starting January 2021. Plastics "susceptible to a minimum of 90% biodegradation in six months" will be exempt from the law.
Mexico City is the latest municipality to join the global movement against single-use plastic items — a group that includes cities such as Hainan, Berkeley and Seattle, along with countries such as Pakistan, Kenya, Canada and members of the EU.
SEEN & HEARD
A few years ago, standing on top of a day's waste from 10 million people, I had a spiritual reawakening at this site! It gave me a renewed appreciation for my job as a waste manager and put the scale of our challenges in perspective.— Ranjith Annepuరంజిత్ (@rkharvel) August 5, 2019
Ramky did a great job here! https://t.co/yyCGGkTjHC
My heart is melted ???? pic.twitter.com/spfaYI3Bqq— Mr. Trash Wheel (@MrTrashWheel) August 7, 2019