Shocking facts about recycling in the UK

Recycling is vital for the environment, helping to conserve resources and protect beautiful areas of the countryside. Yet many people in the UK don’t recycle, and in 2017/2018, only about 43.2% of all households in the UK did so.

Here are some of the most shocking recycling facts and what they mean for you.

1. In seven weeks, the average person creates their body weight in waste

In an average year, this means the average person will throw away seven and a half times their body weight. But about 80% of this can be recycled. If the average person were to recycle this much waste, they could reduce the weight of their waste by one and a half times their body weight a year.

2. 80 million cans of food and drink are sent to landfill every day

Yet most, if not all, food and drink cans can be recycled. When you consider that one tin being recycled can help power a TV for up to three hours, there are enough cans being thrown away every day to power 10 million TVs for the entire day.

3. 17 trees are saved when we recycle one tonne of paper

If everyone in the UK recycled just 10% more paper, then we could potentially save more than five million trees every year. One of the biggest wastes of paper is Sunday newspapers. Nearly 90% of them are thrown away every week and this is the equivalent to half a million trees. Also, recycling paper is more energy efficient and produces less pollution than if it were created from raw materials.

4. It can take 500 years for plastic to decompose

We use 275,000 tonnes of plastic every year in the UK; that’s about 15 million bottles a day. When one of those bottles is recycled, it can save enough energy to power a normal bulb for three hours – it would only take 56 plastic bottles to light a three bedroom house for 24 hours. Plus plastic can make its way to the ocean, where it kills approximately one million sea creatures a year.

5. Five out of six glass bottles are thrown away

One recycled glass bottle will power a computer for about 30 minutes. Glass is also one of the best items to recycle as it can be reused countless times.


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