20 Shocking Facts About Waste and Recycling

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  • 22 Nov 2018
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As we all know, recycling reduces the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, omits less pollution, creates new jobs, saves energy whilst conserving resources including wood and water… so why aren't we taking it more seriously?

In 2015, household waste recycling dropped to 44.3% which means over half of the rubbish we generate was thrown in the bin.

Despite the fact that every council in the UK provides a recycling and collection service, we at No.1 Junk Street are seeing an increase in additional daily and weekly rubbish collections in London, so we can't imagine how much this demand has increased across the country.

1. The UK produces 100+ million tonnes of waste each year, one tonne is about the weight of a small car.

2. On average, every 7 weeks, each person in the UK throws away their own body weight in rubbish and waste.

3. UK household's produce an average of 31 million tonnes of waste per year, equivalent to the weight of 3.3 million double-decker buses.

4. The UK produces around 3% more waste than the year before. At that rate, we would double the amount of waste we produce every 25 years.

5. The average UK family throws away 6 trees worth of paper each year.

6. Paper and card make up about 1/5 of the average UK household dustbin.

Although it isn't compulsory, recycling today is a necessity. By reducing the rubbish we dump in our wheelie bins and allowing our paper, glass, cardboard and plastic to have a second lease of life, we are making a huge effort in protecting the planet long term.

The process of recycling involves the conversion of materials, otherwise classed as "waste", into new and reusable items. By having this option, we can reduce pollution whilst maintaining our planet's natural resources, wildlife whilst also lessening the amount of waste that unfortunately finds it's way into our ecosystem.

7. The most recycled material in the UK is paper, with 2/3 of all paper being recycled each year.

8. Each year, at Christmas, around 83km² of wrapping paper ends up in our rubbish bins.

9. The largest glass furnace can produce over 1 million glass bottles and jars every single day.

10. In the UK, glass milk bottles are used an average of 13 times before being recycling.

11. Back in 2003, we recycled enough glass to create the energy levels to launch 10 space shuttle missions.

12. In the UK, we produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did over 50 years ago.

If you're still unsure,  that's okay, we would recommend visiting your local council’s website, which should provide you with more information about which items can be recycled, and which of the relevant bins/boxes they should go in (you should also be able to request new recycling boxes if need be!).

13. Most plastic shopping bags are only used once but plastic bags can take 100+ years to decompose.

14. 25 fizzy pop bottles (2 litres in size) can be recycled to create the equivalent of an adult-sized fleece jacket.

15. In the UK, we get through 5 billion drinks cans each year. Each one has the potential to be made back into a new recyclable can, which would save huge amounts of raw materials, energy and waste.

16. Empty aluminium cans are worth 6 to 20 times more than any other used packaging material. There are over £30 million worth of empty aluminium drinks cans waiting to be collected and recycled.

Despite being made aware of these dangers, a huge portion of the population still don't realise how much damage is being caused and they are potentially causing by not recycling.

Many have claimed they're not aware of what can and can't be recycled, despite the fact that bins are colour coded and each household is provided with instructions to follow.

Not to worry, we recommend this guide by Recycle for London which will answer all the recycling questions you may have.

17. In the UK, the average household throw away between £250 - £400 of edible foods every year.

18. The average child goes through 3,796 nappies each year, most of which end up buried in UK landfill sites.

19. Estimates show that 80% of the contents of our rubbish bins could easily be recycled and made in to something that could be used over and over.

20. Other EU countries recycle much more than the UK. Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands recycle around 60% of all waste.