‘Eco-dumping’ is the new trend taking over the dating world – but what actually is it?

Written by Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

Have you ever felt the need to end a date because of someone’s dubious opinions on the environment? Eco-dumping is the new trend giving green daters the power to end things on principle.

Name: Eco-dumping

Meaning: Unlike most modern dating terms, it really is exactly what it sounds like. Eco-dumping, to put it simply, is when someone dumps someone they’re dating because the environmental impact of their lifestyle doesn’t quite meet their expectations. For example, they might take lots of flights (and, even worse, use the hashtag #jetsetter) or eat too much red meat. In short, it’s all about putting environmental principles first.

Origin: Yet again, eco-dumping is the brainchild of dating expert Alix Fox – she coined the term as part of her partnership with the dating app Plenty Of Fish. According to Fox, finding someone with similar eco-values has become a real priority for modern daters – in a recent poll of Plenty Of Fish users, 39% said they wanted to date someone who cared about the environment. That was noticeably higher than the number of people who said they cared about dating someone with a sense of humour (28%).  

Wait, only one in four people want to date someone with a sense of humour? That’s not really what we’re talking about here.

But what happens to those of us who can’t help but be hilarious? 1) I think you’re overestimating your abilities, and 2) it’s still something daters care about – just not as much as they care about the way people treat the planet.

Rude. But I guess the planet is kind of important. If there was an award for understatement of the year, you might have just won it.

Fine, so how does eco-dumping work? While, in commercial terms, eco-dumping refers to the practice of exporting goods from a country with weak environmental protection laws in order to reduce the cost of producing it, in dating, it’s a lot simpler. As harsh as the term ‘dumping’ sounds, eco-dumping doesn’t have to be a negative thing – you can still call things off amicably if your partner’s eco-credentials don’t quite match up with yours. 

Wouldn’t it just be easier to work out if someone cares about the planet before you go on a date with them? It depends. This is something many people do, whether that’s by looking for clues on someone’s dating profile (a process often referred to as ‘green screening’) such as details of their vegetarian or vegan diet or pictures of them wearing sustainable clothing brands, or simply asking someone outright about their stance on environmental issues. However, sometimes someone who says they care about the planet may not be as green as they seem at first – and that’s when eco-dumping comes into play.  

I see. So is there a certain level of green-ness which makes someone OK to date? I know how much you love rules, but it’s not like that. It’s up to the individual to decide what does or doesn’t count as ‘green’ – eco-dumping is just the act of leaving someone because of their views on environmental issues, no matter how big or small an issue.

OK, sounds good. What are you doing?

Just adding a few leaves and recycling emojis to my profile – can’t wait to start raking in those likes. There may be a few other things you want to change first…

Like what? Let’s save this for another time – I don’t have all day. 

Image: Getty

Image Design: Amber Sinclair

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