By Daniel J. McLaughlin
A bag for life can show that a person is environmentally-conscious - but, according to a new study, it could also be seen as a feminine act.
It claims that straight men will avoid using reusable shopping bags in fear of their sexuality being questioned.
However, others say that looking after the planet is about humanity, not sexuality.
Straight men will avoid being environmentally-friendly because of harmful gender stereotypes, Pink News reports.
Researchers from Penn State University found that participants in a study labelled using a reusable shopping bag as "feminine", and both men and women were more likely to question a man’s sexuality if he shopped with a bag for life.
The study looked at nearly 1,000 people, and asked them to assess whether a fictional character’s actions were "feminine" or "masculine".
While they did not label the subjects as gay or lesbian, men who want to be seen as heterosexual might avoid "feminine" actions.
Janet K. Swim, the psychologist who led the study, said: "People may avoid certain behaviours because they are managing the gendered impression they anticipate others will have of them. Or they may be avoided if the behaviours they choose do not match their gender.
"If being seen as heterosexual is important to a person, that person may prioritise gender-conforming over gender-nonconforming pro-environmental behaviours in anticipation of how others might see them."
However, as GQ's The Guyliner points out, recycling does not make you gay.
He says that it is "time we stop pandering to men’s fears", and accept that nothing can signify a person's sexuality.
He argues: "Looking after yourself and caring about the world around you aren’t about sexuality, they’re about humanity, and both are much more attractive to potential partners than watching the earth burn in case someone think you’re a sausage hound."
The Guyliner concludes: "Free yourself: brandish your bag for life, sort your paper from your plastic – hell, maybe even try kissing a man while you’re at it.
"Time is finite, dude, you may as well before the polar ice caps get you. But most importantly, reduce, reuse and recycle. It’s totally hetero."
Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, published in March, show that 45.7 per cent of household waste was recycled in 2017 - up 0.5 per cent from the previous year.
Around 26.8 million tonnes of household waste was collected in the UK - and around 12.2 million tonnes was recycled.
The UK currently has a target - set by the European Union - of recycling 50 per cent of household rubbish by 2020.
However, according to the BBC, it is likely to miss this target as recycling rates of councils drop.
Analysis shows that half of councils, serving 14 million households in England, have recycled a lower proportion of household waste between 2012 and 2017.