Older Hong Kong women are the most fervent recyclers, says a new report on global eco-friendly habits that turns on its head the widely-held view that young people are more green than their parents. A report by market-research firm Synovate found that 61 % of Hong Kong women said they had recycled in the past week, versus 43% of men. And 59% of residents age 56-65 had recycled, compared with 37% of those age 16-25. Women and older consumers tend to make the household decisions, giving them more opportunities to engage in green habits, Synovate said.
Indeed, of the 28 countries included in the survey, only Argentina, India and Italy had more males recycling than females. Argentina’s youth, along with those in Indonesia, India and Serbia also recycled more than their older counterparts. The report found that overall, 52% of Hong Kongers said they had recycled waste at home in the past week. In the Asian countries surveyed, 86% of South Koreans said they had, along with 39% in China, 36% in Japan, 15% in India and 5% in Indonesia, which came in last among the 28 countries included in the report. Canada led the rankings, with 88% of respondents saying they had recycled, followed by South Korea, Spain, Belgium and Italy. The U.S., at 10th place, had 66%.
Hong Kong has been somewhat late to join global recycling efforts, launching its territorywide domestic recycling plan only in 2005. Though Hong Kong faces a critical waste-management problem—the government expects landfill space to be filled within this decade if waste levels continue at their current rate—its recycling program, run by the Environmental Protection Department, is voluntary rather than mandatory. As of the end of 2009, the government’s latest data, about 67% of Hong Kong’s population lived in a building participating in the city recycling program, which encourages residents and housing estates to sort domestic waste for recycling. In 2009 about 35% of domestic waste was recovered, compared with 14% in 2004. The department aims to recover 26% of domestic waste by 2012.