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33 Amazing Facts About Recycling That Will Surprise You

 by tom on 17 Aug 2016 |
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Almost all of our products here at Tiny Box Company are recycled, recyclable and eco-friendly. But we think that being a responsible citizen of the world requires much more than just buying recyclable goods. These scary and surprising facts about recycling may inspire you to do more too. They have certainly made us think…
 
1. The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day
That’s about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. If we all made an effort to reuse or recycle goods, we can all make a difference. The amount we throw away should also inspire us to shop smarter so we don’t cause so much wastage in the first place.

2. Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod.
Recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks or create enough energy to listen to an entire album on your MP3 player. So imagine what impact we could have on the planet if every person in the world recycled one can every week?

ipod recycling

3. 24 million tonnes of aluminium is produced every year in the UK
We produce a whopping 24 million tonnes of aluminium per year here and 51,000 tonnes of that will end up as packaging for drinks cans, foil, food containers, aerosols and tubes. And much of this is not recycled by the typical household.

4. If every single can used was recycled properly in the UK, we would need less dustbins.
14 million fewer dustbins to be precise! A shocking £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away every single year here in the UK, yet aluminium cans can be easily recycled and they can be reused over and over again. Aluminium also has a fast turnaround and is recycled and ready to use in less than 6 weeks.

5. If you don’t recycle your aluminium, this is what happens…
When we don’t recycle our aluminium cans and just throw them in the trash and let them go to landfills, they can actually stay in their solid can form for up to 500 years or more. That means that 500 years later, the same cans are still here polluting the earth. Make sure you recycle your cans!

6. Half a million trees are cut down just to produce Sunday newspapers
Reading newspapers is an essential part of life but half a million trees are the outlay for us to have our Sunday papers every week. There are two ways we can help to reduce the impact on deforestation. 1) Go online or download a newspaper app on your phone and 2) Recycle your newspapers every time.

tree recycling

7. Around 93% of all textile waste can be successfully recycled
Approximately 93% of all textile waste diverted to recycling can be recycled or reused. Yet 85% goes directly to landfills. Help change this and upcycle unwanted fabrics, donate clothing to charity shops or use networks such as Freecycle to give away unwanted upholstery.

8. Supermodel Gisele has been named the Best Green International Celebrity
And it’s not just royalty and politicians who believe in living green. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen was crowned the ‘Best Green International Celebrity’ after winning an online poll. She came up tops by a large margin thanks to her work in ecological conservation and education.

9. Your toothpaste could be polluting the oceans with unrecyclable plastic
Your toothpaste, face scrubs and exfoliators could be polluting the oceans. Many products contain tiny little microbeads which are non-recyclable and not biodegradable which means they go down your drains and are too small for the filters before going into the sea and harming marine life. The UK could ban plastic microbeads used in cosmetics but currently, these products are still in circulation.

10. If you recycle a newspaper it could come back to you with cereal in it!
Newspapers can be recycled into new newspapers as well as many other things including cereal boxes, egg cartons, pencil barrels, grocery bags, tissue paper and many other products.

11. There are three “Rs” to Recycling…
When it comes to being a responsible recycling warrior, it’s important to always remember the three “Rs”; reduce, reuse, recycle. So it’s not just about making sure we recycle all our rubbish; sustainability starts further back in the circle of consumption and production, and it’s just as important to manage what we buy. And if we can reuse something altogether, it’s even better than recycling or throwing it away.

12. Recycling can help to reduce the problems of global warming
Did you know that recycling doesn’t just reduce the rubbish going into our landfills? But it also helps to conserve energy on earth and therefore helps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere?

13. Plastic carrier bags kill over a million sea creatures every single year
If the price of plastic carriers at the supermarket isn’t enough to deter you, maybe this horrifying fact is. Every year, plastic bags that are thrown in the ocean kill more than a million marine animals and one single supermarket can get through around 700 carriers bags every hour. Make sure you opt for a reusable cotton or canvas shopping bag to carry your groceries home in. If you don’t want to spend money, these can be easily made from old bedsheets and unwanted fabrics.

14. More than 60% of the rubbish that ends up in our bins could be recycled
A scary 60% of the rubbish that we put in our bins could actually be recycled, and in some cases they could even be reused or passed onto charity.

15. The word “upcycle” has entered the Oxford and Macmillan dictionaries
Upcycling isn’t just a trend. It’s an official word. And the definition is: “to reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.”

16. Brad Pitt aims to “Make It Right” with sustainable energy
Brad Pitt believes in recycling not just rubbish, but energy. His Make It Right Foundation builds affordable, solar-powered homes and communities for people in need; plus the Jolie-Pitt Foundation also contributes to other saving other natural resources and wildlife conservation campaigns.

17. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again
Glass is 100% recyclable and it can be used again and again. When being recycled, it is separate by colours because the recycled glass will retain the same hues after going through the renewal process.

glass recycle

18. We are losing 100 acres of rainforest by the minute…
People are not recycling as much paper and card as they can, and as a result, the planet is losing around 100 acres of rainforest every single minute. Deforestation is happening all over the world at a terrifying rate so we should always remember to recycle.

19. The amount of wood and paper thrown each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years…
We should aim to recycle every newspaper, magazine, bill or bank statement. But another way to prevent this growing problem is to go online for all your paper needs. Bank online and download newspaper and magazine apps for your mobile or tablet.

20. In the UK every year, we produce around 3% more waste than the year before.
3% doesn’t sound like much but imagine if we carried on at this rate; it would mean that we’d be doubling the amount of waste we produce every 25 years.

21. The average UK family throws away 6 trees worth of paper in their household bin a year.
There are so many ways to prevent this from happening. From going paperless for banking and bills to avoiding overly packaged food and other products as well as reusing paper as a scrap paper instead of buying notebooks and notepads, we can help to reduce the effects of this.

22. Every Christmas, as much as 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper ends up in UK rubbish!
That is an awful lot of wrapping paper wasting in just one day and is enough to cover an area larger than Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands! Always buy recycled gift wrap and gift boxes or reuse wrapping from other people.

christmas recycle

23. Less than 50% of the UK’s batteries are recycled
You can help change this by using the free battery recycling network, ERP. And you will be able to recycle all types of portable batteries including AAA and AA batteries, button batteries, mobile phone batteries, laptop batteries and power tool batteries.

24. A typical office generates about one pound of paper per employee
Go paperless in the office; encourage your boss or encourage your employees to think about the impact that paper is having on the world’s forests and use email, digital apps and e-documents instead of printouts and booklets. And push for Powerpoint presentations instead of meetings with handouts and paper notes.

25. Using old paper to make new paper uses 30 to 50 percent less energy than making paper from trees.
This is why recycling is important. Not just to reduce waste but to also conserve energy on our planet.

26. Freecycle networks are the easiest way of giving redundant objects a new home!
They say one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure so before chucking something in the tip, think about whether someone else might be able to make use out of it. Because every single exchange will reduce the rubbish going in landfills. Networks such as Freecycle.org now have more than 9 million members worldwide – So wherever you are in the world and whatever it is that you want to get rid of, someone somewhere may be able to take it off your hands for free.

27. If you go to a Maroon 5 concert, you’d better recycle…
Celebs who support eco-living are awesome and the band Maroon 5 are just a few of the people who care about being sustainable and responsible. The band use biodiesel-powered tour buses, promote recycling at all their concert venues, and donate a percentage of ticket sales to environmental charities such as Global Cool.

28. Paper and card recycling in 2008 reduced CO2 emissions
It’s not all doom and gloom. Our recycling efforts to make a difference and we now have the stats to prove it. Just in 2008, the paper and card recycled in the UK was able to reduce CO2 emissions to the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road. So *pats selves on back* and let’s carry on the good work!

29. Corrugated cardboard packaging consists nearly of 100% recycled material
Today, pretty much all cardboard boxes are 100% recyclable and are also made with almost 100% recycled material.

30. Up to a fifth of UK recycling is contaminated  
But with all the good news, we also have some bad news. Because it’s been reported that almost one fifth of the UK’s recycling is contaminated by unrecyclable materials, chemicals or other substances. So it’s important that we recycle properly otherwise we could taint the good efforts of others.

31. Recycling contamination can break machinery and put workers at risk!
As if we need more reasons to recycle responsibly; contamination can actually break and damage recycling machinery and it can even cause safety hazards for recycling workers. For instance, glass and electronic waste can be a very dangerous contaminant when added to the wrong recycling container.

32. Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton prove it’s ok to recycle fashion…
That’s right, even British royalty and the American First Lady are now known to be recycling their outfits. The celebrity wear-once trend has been bucked by several influential ladies including the Duchess of Cambridge, President Obama’s wife and even super-fashionista, Olivia Palermo who have all been spotted wearing the same outfits over and over again. Textile waste is a big problem so make sure you reuse, rewear or recycle.

michelle obama recycling

33. Recycled steel requires 75% less energy than virgin steel
Recycling metal and steel can save a huge amount of energy and money. It actually requires 75% less energy to use recycled steel than it does to create new “virgin” steel from raw materials.
 

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