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Recycling and the domestic division of labour: is green pink or blue?

Oates, Caroline J.; McDonald, Seonaidh


Caroline J. Oates

Seonaidh McDonald


Domestic or household recycling has a crucial role to play in meeting EU targets for overall recycling rates. However, researchers have yet to agree on the characteristics of the domestic recycler and how recycling is actually carried out in the home. In this article, recycling is investigated within the context of domestic labour in an attempt to understand how it fits in with or overrides traditional divisions. This brings an important new perspective to the recycling debate and at the same time updates the domestic division of labour literature to include green activities. It is suggested that recycling contradicts prevailing trends towards decreasing time spent on household chores, but that, like domestic labour, it is initiated and largely sustained by women alone or together with a partner. In this sense, recycling follows a similar pattern to more established household chores.


OATES, C.J. and McDONALD, S. 2006. Recycling and the domestic division of labour: is green pink or blue? Sociology [online], 40(3), pages 417-433. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2006
Online Publication Date Jun 1, 2006
Publication Date Jun 1, 2006
Deposit Date Jun 3, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 3, 2015
Journal Sociology
Print ISSN 0038-0385
Electronic ISSN 1469-8684
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 3
Pages 417-433
Keywords Domestic division of labour; Gender Recycling
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