With more and more people recycling but with still more to be done, we have created a comprehensive list of the most impressive facts.
The Basic Facts
- 1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
- 1 recycled glass bottle will save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
- 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a light bulb for 3 hours.
- 70% less energy is needed to recycle paper as oppose to making it from raw materials.
Tin Cans/Aluminium Recycling Facts
- 24 million tonnes of aluminium is produced annually, 51,000 tonnes of which ends up as packaging (drinks and food cans etc) in the UK.
- If all cans were recycled in the UK we would need 14 million fewer dustbins.
- £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away to landfill each year. If this were put to good use it could give put an extra 1650 emergency workers in the UK system (nurses, police and fire crews).
- Aluminium cans can be recycled and ready to use again in as little as 6 weeks.
- The aluminium drinks can is the worlds most recycled packaging. In the UK alone 60% of current drinks cans have previously been recycled.
- Manufacturing one aluminium drinks can from raw materials uses the same amount of energy as it would take to recycle 20 drinks cans.
- If all the aluminium drinks cans recycled in the UK during the previous year were laid end to end it would stretch from John O'Groats to Land's End 140 times, or go around the earth 30 times.
- Every steel can is 100% recyclable, it can be turned into more steel cans, bicycles, parts for cars and many other every day products each and every time.
- Every day over 80 million food and drinks cans end up in landfill from the UK alone.
- We get through over 5 billion drinks cans per year in the UK or 600 per household on average.
- Weight for weight the aluminium drinks can is worth 6-20 times more than any other used packaging material. To put this into numbers there are more than £30 million pounds worth of empty aluminium drinks cans in the UK waiting to be collected and recycled.
- 13 billion steel cans are produced in the UK each year. If we put those steel cans end to end it would reach the moon 3 times.
- The recycling rate for aluminium cans is already above 90% in countries such as Brazil and Japan.
Paper Recycling Facts
- Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution that if it was made from raw materials.
- Over 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used in the UK per year. Which is the equivalent weight of 260 QE2s (Queen Elizabeth cruise ship).
- The average person uses 38kg of newspapers per annum.
- It takes 24 trees to make just 1 ton of newspaper. If we only used raw materials that would mean chopping down 300 million trees every year in the UK alone.
- In 2010 USA paper recycling had increased by over 89% compared to 20 years earlier.
- If everyone in Britain recycled just 10% extra paper it would save approximately 5 million trees each year.
- Approximately 4 billion trees are cut down each year for the worlds paper use.
- It takes one tree to make 230 average sized newspapers/magazines.
- Each tonne of recycled paper will save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic meters of landfill space, 4000 KW of energy and 7000 gallons of water.
- The UK uses a woodland the size of Wales every year in paper.
- The amount of waste paper sent to landfill each year would fill 103,000 double decker buses
- It can take just 7 days to turn old newspapers, books and magazines back into new ones.
- Two-thirds of paper is recycled in the UK, making it one of the most recycled materials.
- Every Christmas as much as 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper ends up in rubbish bins throughout the UK. To put it another way that is 83 million square meters or 11,624 football pitches.
- On a typical Sunday nearly 90% off newspapers are thrown away in Britain. This is the equivalent of throwing half a million trees into landfill.
- 70% less energy is needed to recycle paper and reuse it compared to making it from raw materials.
- The average British family throws away 6 trees worth of paper in their rubbish bin per year.
Plastic Recycling Facts
- 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK. That is around 15 million plastic bottles per day.
- The rate of plastic use within Western Europe is growing at around 4% per annum. That might not sound a lot but that means within 20 years we will have doubled our current plastic use.
- Plastic can take up to 500 years to fully decompose.
- Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles per hour on average.
- Plastic items such as carrier bags and bottles that end up in our oceans kill approximately 1,000,000 sea creatures each and every year.
- Most households throw away at least 40kg of plastic each year, which is enough to make 10 recycle bins.
- The amount of petrol used to make one plastic bag would drive a car 11 meters.
- It takes around 5 plastic bottles to make an extra-large t-shirt or filling for a ski jacket.
- It takes as little as 25 2L plastic bottles to make one adult sized fleece.
- We manufacture and use twenty times more plastic today than we did in the 1960's.
- The vast majority of plastic shopping bags are only used once and take up to 100 years to decompose. Scotland and then England will have new legislation in place by 2015 that will mean supermarkets and major retailers will have to charge 5p per plastic carrier bag with the monies raised going to charity. This is hoped will reduce the throwaway mentality towards plastic carrier bags.
Glass Recycling Facts
- Each family uses an average of 500 glass bottles and jars annually.
- The largest glass furnace produces over 1 million glass bottles and jars per day.
- Glass is 100% recyclable and can be reused over and over again.
- Glass that is thrown into landfills will never decompose, putting a great strain on landfills with too much glass content.
- Americans throw away around 28 billion glass bottles and jars per year.
- Milk bottles are used an average of 13 times before being recycled.
- The glass recycling level in the UK saves enough energy to launch 10 space shuttle missions.
- The average glass bottle is made up of as much as 25% recycled glass, green bottles however contain as much as 90%.
- The UK has more than 50,000 bottle banks with each bank capable of holding 3,000 bottles.
- 5 out of every 6 glass bottles are thrown away.
Food Recycling Facts
- The average person throws away 74kg of food waste each year. This is the equivalent of 1077 banana skins.
- UK households throw away roughly £350 of potentially edible food each year.
- 1 litre of oil can pollute up to 1 million litres of water drinking water.
- The UK throws away at least £10 billion pounds worth of food each year which could have been eaten.
- We throw away 1.6 million untouched bananas every day.
- 1.3 million unopened yoghurts each day.
- 600,000 whole uncooked eggs every day.
- 1.2 million untouched sausages.
- 20 million slices of bread every day.
Other Recycling Facts
- Every year 18 million tonnes of waste is landfilled in UK sites.
- On average every person in the UK throws away their own body weight in rubbish every 7 weeks. In less than 2 hours the UK could fill the Albert Hall with its waste.
- Incinerating 10,000 tonnes of waste creates 1 job, landfill the same waste would create 6 jobs, but recycling creates 36 jobs.
- 8 million nappies are thrown away every day.
- 7 million trees are cut down each year to make disposable nappies.
- A child uses an average of 5,850 nappies over the course of their lifetime, which would weigh the same as an average family car. It also takes 1 disposable nappy 550 years to break down!
- It is estimated that as much as 80% of the contents of our general waste wheelie bin could have been recycled or composted.
- Over 1 million tonnes of clothing and other textiles is thrown away in the UK each year. If this was compressed it would be as wide as Canary Wharf and 3 times taller.
- Each year in the UK, we dispose of enough electrical and electronic waste to equal the weight of 1,000,000 cars or 150,000 double decker buses!
- In the UK we dispose of roughly 80 million fluorescent tubes each year which equates to 4 tonnes of Mercury.