Clashing Sustainability Habits Are Causing Arguments Within Couples, Survey Finds

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Nov. 9 2021, Published 10:46 a.m. ET

Sustainability Arguments
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It's common (and relatively healthy) to argue with your S.O. every so often. Whether you have differing views on how often you should be cleaning the apartment, or how about much time you should be spending together, occasional disputes are totally normal. One type of argument that's becoming increasingly more common in relationships, however, pertains to the planet — a survey from John Lewis Partnership, a division of U.K. retailer John Lewis, shows that 30 percent of couples admit to engaging in sustainability arguments.

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Although arguments may seem like a bad thing to those involved at the time, this could be a positive thing in the long run.

“If people are having discussions at home about eco habits, then the future is bright," Marija Rompani, ethics and sustainability director at the John Lewis Partnership said, as per Mirror. “Debate drives action and by expressing their own beliefs and listening to the views of others, more people in the U.K. are making positive lifestyle changes to benefit the environment."

She continued:

“We have one planet and we all need to do everything in our power to protect it... And while the public have a means to do some of this themselves, it is the role of government, local councils and businesses such as ourselves to provide the public with the right tools and services that help empower them to take action.”

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Couples Sustainability
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Environmental habits are evidently coming between couples.

The survey, although a little heteronormative and small-scale, polled 2,000 adults in relationships, showing that almost a third have argued about sustainability. According to The Sun, 23 percent also admitted to breaking up — or almost breaking up — with with their S.O. over poor sustainability habits, while 22 percent admitted they were the one blamed for bad eco behavior. This was more common among men (32 percent were to blame) while women were only to blame 14 percent of the time.

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The study also looked at the division of environmental responsibilities among men and women. It showed that 69 percent of women and 56 percent of men turn off the lights after leaving a room. Likewise, 59 percent of women and 43 percent of men clean out recyclables. Women are also more likely to donate old clothes, hang dry clothes, and cook with leftovers. However, women are more likely to shop fast fashion, while men are more likely to bring out the recycling bins and recycle e-waste.

That said, there's somewhat of a disparity regarding people's relationships with sustainability. About 67 percent of those polled were willing to improve their eco habits, though many were extremely confused about what can and cannot be recycled. 59 percent feel guilty about throwing something in the trash that could be recycled, and 44 percent claim they feel uneducated on their environmental impact altogether. Clearly there's room for improvement, most seem willing to learn.

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Green Habits
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A previous study shows eco-friendliness is a turn-on for singles, too.

Back in 2020, South West News Service (SWNS) released a study that surveyed 2,000 people, which showed 56 percent of singles are turned off by "eco-unfriendliness," while 25 percent broke up with their last S.O. for poor eco habits. Additionally, about 69 percent surveyed said they find climate consciousness to be a turn-on — so you may want to add a little ode to mother earth in your dating profile, if you're currently on the hunt for a boo ahead of cuffing season.

Bottom line: unless you want to be forever single, care about the planet — it's hot, trust us.

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