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Number crunching: Interesting recycling statistics in the UK

Number crunching: Interesting recycling statistics in the UK

Number Crunching: Interesting Recycling Statistics

At an individual level, efforts to recycle and its effects may feel small. Many people fail to realise how their small contribution can lead to a great benefit, or great burden, to recycling and environmental causes. Not only do our individual efforts make a large difference, but also our collective ones create incredible consequences. The below article lists a few of the more interesting and important facts about recycling.

The speed, effectiveness, and never-ending process of recycling reveal some interesting facts about how our manufacturing and consumer cycle works and where we fit in as a vital cog of the process. Below are some fun facts about the life-cycle of recycling.

Closed-loop recycling is recycling that ensures these resources are either properly disposed of in a biodegradable manner or wholly and infinitely reused in the manufactory and consumer cycle. A closed-loop cycle of aluminium can take up to 60 days to complete. In this short period, the resources can be reprocessed without even being noticed in the marketplace.

We are throwing away energy, and this wasted energy ultimately means higher bills and costs. Thrown-away aluminium can power a television for three hours. Our yearly unnecessary toss of recyclable products occupying our bins could power a television for 5,000 hours. This wasted energy ultimately means higher costs for goods and services.

Wasted Energy

Recycling is dependent on us, and we can be doing a lot more than what we are currently achieving. Britain’s recycling lags behind compared to our neighbours. While we recycled 17.5 per cent of our total national 30.5 million tonnes waste, other EU countries recycled closer to 50 per cent of national waste in 2003. A focus on recycling would mean greater job growth, economic growth as well as lowering the costs we currently pay for waste disposal.

Making products out of recycled material is a lot cheaper and uses less energy. Recycling paper for re-use requires 70 per cent less energy than making paper from raw material.

We currently pay too much for unnecessary packaging, too; about 16 per cent of the money we spend on goods comes from packaging costs that often get thrown away. More importantly, packaging material is incredibly burdensome on landfill use and effective recycling. Nearly a third of landfills consist of disposed packaging. Not only would consumer prices drop if we used more recycled material as well as used less packaging, but the number of landfills used – and their efficiency would be greatly and positively affected.

Small considerations whilst performing daily household tasks go a long way to helping the environment. By running your dishwasher only when it’s full, you are set not only to save money, but save nearly 800 litres of water per month.

Most people are not recycling what they could be; an average of 60 per cent of what you throw in your rubbish could actually be recycled. Two of the largest culprits are food containers, as well as bottles for things like washing up liquid. Don’t throw away the tub of margarine or laundry detergent bottle – instead, recycle. The only things that should not be recycled are containers which contain toxic chemicals such as bleach or drain cleaners.

Unless recycled, these waste products don’t go anywhere. It takes a single glass item 4,000 years to decompose. This means landfills don’t decompose and the land required to bury these materials are rendered unusable. By coming together and spending even a modest amount of consideration to recycle and use our resources better, we cannot only save the environment but our wallets as well.


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