Recycling Facts

Recycling has become a way of life in most industrialized countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and so on. Everybody can play a role in environmental preservation through recycling and, collectively, it can make a great difference for the entire world. At this time, recycling has brought a lot of benefits to the natural environment and people but there are even more things that can be done to maximize the positive effects. To understand what we have achieved and what can be achieved through recycling, we need to look at some facts and figures about recycling.

In 2003 and 2004, a total of 30.5 million tons of waste was produced by households in the United Kingdom and only 5.95 tons were collected for recycling. It represented 17 percent of the total amount of waste. In comparison to some other countries in the EU, the figure is considered to be quite low because they managed to recycle more than 50 percent of total waste. Taking the average rate of recycling to be 50 percent, it meant that slightly over 10 million tons of waste ended up in landfill sites when they could actually be recycled! The additional waste that was not recycled would have serious additional negative effects on the environment.

Recycling is one of the most effective ways to conserve the environment and save energy. Here are some interesting facts.

  • The energy saved by just 1 recycled tin can is equivalent to the energy required to run a television for 3 hours.
  • The energy saved by just 1 recycled glass bottle is equivalent to the energy required to run a computer for 25 minutes.
  • In comparison to the production of paper from raw materials, the recycling of paper costs about 70 percent less energy.

More Interesting Facts about Recycling

  • Many people don’t give much thought about the trash in the trashcan but up to 60 percent of the rubbish can actually be recycled.
  • All the potential energy of the trash in the trashcan for a period of one year, you will have enough energy to run a television for 5,000 hours!
  • If you are to pile all the garbage in the UK into the largest lake in Britain, the entire lake would be filled in just 8 months.
  • A lot of emphasis is placed on packaging but many people don’t realize that approximately 16 percent of the product price is attributed to the packaging. It’s quite a price to pay for something which will eventually end up in the trash.
  • In the average garbagecan, up to 50 percent of the trash can actually be composted.
  • As much as 80 percent of a vehicle can be recycled.
  • If the recycling process is made easier, up to 90 percent of people will recycle more.


  • In a single year, the production of aluminum is estimated to be 24 million tons. Out of this figure, 51,000 tons are used as packaging in the UK.
  • The UK will require 14 million less trashcans if all the aluminum cans are recycled.
  • The recycling of aluminum cans is very quick so they can be reused in just a short 6 weeks.


  • In a single year, the average UK family uses about 500 glass jars and bottles.
  • In a single day, the production capacity of the largest glass furnace is more than 1 million glass jars and bottles.
  • Glass can be used again and again, and it is 100 percent recyclable.
  • Glass that is thrown in the trash will most likely end up in the landfills where it will never decompose.


  • In comparison to paper which is produced from raw materials, the recycling of paper brings about a reduction of 73 percent in air pollution.
  • In a single year, a total of 12.5 million tons of cardboard and paper are used in the UK.
  • In a single year, 38 kg of newspapers are used by an average person in the UK.
  • One ton of newspaper requires 24 trees.


  • In a single year, the UK uses 275,000 tons of plastic which is equivalent to 15 million bottles a day!
  • In a single year, 40 kg of plastic is thrown away by families. These items can be recycled!
  • In Western Europe, the use of plastic is growing at a rate of 4 percent per year.
  • It can take about 500 years for plastic to decompose.