Is Recycling for Girly Men? Naaaah …

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About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.


  1. I have to take issue with your use of the term ‘girly men’ Tom.

    Firstly I don’t really know what a ‘girly man’ is. Secondly, why can’t ‘girly men’ also be ‘good men’?

    You seem to be equating environmental consideration with some kind of ‘real man’ image. Which to me just seems silly. Especially when you comment that women are often quite environmentally aware anyway. And they aren’t men at all. They are *actual* girls.

    • I also take issue with Tom’s term, girly men, because it denigrates women.

      Tom’s articles often have lots of sexist language, which makes they very difficult to read.

      Tom seems to view the male as the norm of humanity and the female as some sort of deficient “other”.

      Tom seems to think that macho is a good term and probably believes that it’s just a Spanish word for masculinity. But all of my Hispanic friends tell me that macho/machismo is not just about masculinity. It’s about male dominance and contempt for women.

  2. Eating greener (including less meat) is not only good for the environment, it’s better for your own health.  I try to each mainly organic and/or locally grown fruit and vegetables, with the exception of fruits that have thick skin which have thick skin  – there is little to no benefit to buying those organic, as the skin protects the fruit. 

    I also absolutely refuse to eat any soy product, anything with high fructose corn syrup, or anything else that I can trace back to the devil (Monsanto).  If you don’t know what I mean, watch Food, Inc.

    Lastly, please stop making everything about gender when approaching men on issues.  It’s not; furthermore, it’s self-defeating because it turns most men off of whatever topic you are writing about.

    Just talk about what would benefit men, their families, and/or the world at large.   Leave gender out of it. It doesn’t fit or help.

  3. Terry Washington says:

    I disagree to with not just the phrase “girly men”(popularized by uber macho Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California to desrcribe his Democratic critics)but the smug implication we can leave “green causes” to the women. The planet is far TOO important to have its safety conveniently consigned to the concerns of one sex, just as war is too important to be left to the generals-it will need BOTH sexes working together to save it!

  4. Tom, thanks for pulling this material together. And thanks for the focus on this issue at The Good Men Project. I think that conservative use of our natural resources goes hand-in-hand with the personal and political challenges to be more careful about what we spend. In my view, whether the scarcity is money or natural resources, our culture is riding that giant pendulum swing back to more careful use of resources. At least, that is my hope. The pendulum is swinging that way, whether we choose to swing with it or not. And the choice to swing with it, will be the one that truly matters.

  5. The Bad Man says:

    Not much useful information in this article, but a hell of a lot of unsubstantiated stereotypes. Being the technical guy that I am with a background in environmental science, I prefer straight up facts rather than politicized moral panic.

    You completely forgot to mention the consumers! Oh no, it’s those bad corporations selling us all that useless crap. Oh yeah, isn’t it women that have the greater control of household spending? Yes, they do.

  6. G’day Tom

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: yes, absolutely.

    I also like – and we live by – ‘Think Global, Act Local’, which I interpret to mean do what you can at a local & micro level (as a citizen consumer), and two very important results may be achieved.
    1. My children copy my behaviour, and in their own small way, start to care for the environment too, and grow into adults believing in a sustainable future.
    2. If most people ‘Think Globally, and Act Locally’, together, as a community and a society we will make a difference.

    We’re all in this together: consumers, corporations, the next generation. No ‘us and them’ for me.

    I was raised in a conventional, middle-class, religious family; now I am faithfully agnostic.
    My religion now is a belief in a sustainable future; like a devout Christian, it’s what I practise every day.



  7. Most consuming of useless junk is being done by women, but anyway. Why does the GMP insult me by talking the position that if they attach recycling to being “macho” or some variation of that, if I don’t already recycle, I will suddenly start because someone has told me its what “real men” do?

    Where do you get the idea that your target audience are this stupid.

    • There is no credible evidence that most consuming of useless junk is being done by women.

      This website says it wants men to be good, but it tolerates lots of misogyny.

      • JT

        Yes there is credible evidence that women women consume the most, ask any advertiser, compare the average woman bathroom and wardrobe to the average males. Look at how 80% of the advertising and shopping space in malls is devoted to women.

        Women control over 80% of discretionary spending. (google it)

        Also, I see you definition of misogyny is a man saying something that you don’t like, even if its the truth. Grow up.

        Women make 80 percent of health care decisions and 68 percent of new car purchase decisions
        In 31 percent of the marriages where women work, women now out-earn their husbands (See the “*” below).

        Women purchase over 50 percent of traditional male products, including automobiles, home improvement products and consumer electronics

        • Facts about the “Purse Power” of women:

          Women are the dominant spending force in almost every retail/business category and are the most affluent and influential consumers of today.
          Of all consumer purchases, women are responsible for 83%
          Homes: Directly purchase or influence the purchase of 91% of all new homes
          Home fix-up purchases: More than 55%
          Retail: Account for 88% of customers in the US & Canada
          Auto: Make more than 50% of all auto purchases and influence 85%.
          Home furnishings: 94%
          Vacation choices: 92%
          House purchases: 91%
          Consumer electronics purchases: 51% (women are involved in 89% of all consumer electronic purchase decisions)
          Home Computers: Account for 66% of all purchases
          Bank Accounts: Hold 89% of all accounts
          Credit Cards: Women carry 76 million credit cards, 8 million more then men—(Fast Company, 2004)
          Healthcare: Make 80% of Healthcare decisions and account for 67% of spending
          Health: Purchase 65% of herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals and purchase 80% of all healthcare
          Beauty and hygiene: Purchase more than 90%
          Clothes, accessories: Wear more than 90% of items such as jewelry and perfume
          Meetings: Plan the meetings and comprise the majority of certified meeting planners
          Office Supplies: Purchase $44.5 billion
          Lawn movers: Purchase approximately 81% of riding lawn mowers
          All facts noted above are from the 2005 Wow! Quick Facts book and the U.S. Census Bureau, 2004 – from here

      • The Bad Man says:

        As reported by Ms. Magazine, Dec. 2010

        Women, according to the JEC report, control 73 percent of spending within their households, which is equivalent to approximately $4 trillion in yearly discretionary spending. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to control daily expenditures in more than half of middle and upper-class household

        In a 2008 study by the Pew Research Center:

        Of 1,260 couples, married or living together, surveyed this summer, women wield more decision-making power at home.

        In a 2007 study reported in the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

        Researchers found that wives, on average, displayed more power than their husbands during problem-solving discussions, regardless of who brought up the topic of discussion.

      • The Bad Man says:

        KT says:
        There is no credible evidence that most consuming of useless junk is being done by women.
        This website says it wants men to be good, but it tolerates lots of misogyny.

        You are a liar, telling the truth is not misogyny.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Just for grins, check out “climategate I” and “climategate II”. The whole AGW thing’s been busted. The University of East Anglia, one of the two go-to places for climate data has recently said–given their previous issues, an admission against interest–that global warming stopped in 1997. However, if you want big federal subsidies–see Solyndra–you have to keep pretending.
    Recycling can be economically or environmentally beneficial. It is always beneficial to those who think themselves superior types. One town–see Mark Steyn–has recycle bins but dumps them in the landfill. It serves the larger purpose, making people feel good about themselves.
    Does recycling glass cost more in energy–collect, separate, transport, store, and remelt the stuff–than using the basic raw materials? If you have to ask, you’re a bad person. The answer is irrelevant.
    And why in the name of all that’s holy is this is this a gender question? Some of the most tiresome ecofreaks I’ve ever met have been guys.


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