Throw Away Culture: How Much Do We Really Recycle?

Throw Away Culture infographic

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Total individual lifetime disposal

On average, every person throws away seven and a half times their body weight each year. 10% plastic 15% food 30% paper 15% garden waste 10% metal 8% glass 5% rubber 5% wood 2% misc

  • Steel cans are recycled in six weeks.
  • When using recycled glass to make containers, 315 kg of CO2 is saved per tonne
  • Steel cans are 100% recyclable
  • Glass can be recycled many times without losing its purity
  • 70% less energy is used to make recycled paper

Total household disposal per week

Combustible waste – 3.3 kg Garden wste – 2.9 kg Kitchen waste – 3.1 kg Textiles – 0.3 kg Glass packaging – 1.7 kg Aluminum packaging – 0.5 kg Ferrous packaging – 0.7 kg Plastic packaging – 0.7 kg Cardboard and paper – 3.8 kg

  • The average household weekly waste has enough energy to power a TV for two years
  • The average family throws six trees worth of paper in their household bin a year
  • The energy saved from recycling one bottle will power a 100-watt light bulb for an hour
  • Additionally, 96% of an old television can be used to make new televisions
  • One recycled aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours
  • Every year the average dustbin contains enough unreleased energy for 500 baths, 3500 showers or 5000 hours of television

In the past year alone, our household recycling amounted to 8.7 million tonnes. This included quantities of aluminum, glass and paper equivalent to: 2.1 billion glass wine bottles, enough to build six stacks reaching to the moon. 2.9 billion aluminum cans, enough to stretch around the world nine times, 6.6 billion newspapers, none out of every ten sold in the UK.

  • The energy used to make one can from raw materials could be used to make twenty recycled cans.
  • We use around 600 per household per year, this equals 12.5 Billion steel cans every year in total, of which 10 Billion goes to landfill.

If you put it in a landfill now, the following would decompose by: Paper bag – next month Wool sock – next year Aluminum can – 2060 A.D. Disposable nappies – 2560 A.D. Plastic bags – 3010 A.D. Plastic jug – 1,002,010 A.D. Glass bottle – 1,500,000 A.D. Styrofoam cup – 7,500,000,000 A.D. Or alternatively… If we recycled everything we could, nationally we could save 58 million tonnes of CO2 a year. This is equal to the amount absorbed by 64,046 miles of forest.

Municipal recycling and composting by country

Germany – 64% Belgium – 62% Netherlands – 49% Austria – 49% Sweden – 49% Italy – 44% Denmark – 41% Estonia – 35% Finland – 36% UK – 34.5%

Source: Recycle.co.uk

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