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Green Facts

The facts* that exist concerning the impact we as consumers have on the world are astonishing.

The information we have compiled below is a round up of just some of the statistical evidence that strongly supports the argument that we all need to make a little more effort to be a little greener.

If you have come across other powerful facts please let us know and we will add them to the list.

Did you know...

Plastic Facts »
  • All types of plastic are recyclable.
  • Advantages of recycling plastic:
    - Conservation of non-renewable fossil fuel
    - Plastic production uses 8% of the world's oil production, 4% as feedstock and 4% during manufacture.
    - Reduced consumption of energy.
    - Reduced amounts of solid waste going to landfill.
    - Reduced emissions of carbon-dioxide (CO2), nitrogen-oxide (NO) and sulphur-dioxide (SO2).
  • The world's annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. (WRAP)
  • One tonne of plastics is equivalent to 20,000 two litre drinks bottles or 120,000 carrier bags (LINPAC )
  • The amount of plastic waste generated annually in the UK is estimated to be nearly 5 million tonnes. (WRAP)
  • The UK currently recycles approximately 24% of plastic while a European country like Germany recycles 44% (British Plastic Federation)
  • Plastic makes up 9% of average household waste. (WRAP)
  • All branches of Tesco and Sainsbury's offer a plastic bag recycling service
  • A report on the production of carrier bags made from recycled rather than virgin polythene concluded that the use of recycled plastic resulted in the following environmental benefits:
    - reduction of energy consumption by two-thirds
    - production of only a third of the sulphur dioxide and half of the nitrous oxide
    - reduction of water usage by nearly 90%
    - reduction of carbon dioxide generation by two-and-a-half times
  • 1.8 tonnes of oil are saved for every tonne of recycled polythene produced
  • Over 50%% of litter found on UK beaches in 2008 was plastic litter, an increase of more than 120% since 1994.
  • 75% of post consumer plastic waste is sent to landfill
  • Around 45 billion individual items, approximately one million tonnes of domestic plastics, are disposed of every year in the UK (WRAP)
  • Every year an estimated 4.5 billion plastic bags are given away by UK supermarkets.
  • Incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates 1 job, landfilling the same amount creates 6 jobs while recycling the same 10,000 tons creates 36 jobs.
  • Plastic bags and other plastic rubbish thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.
  • Plastics can take up to 400 years to break down in a landfill.
  • If you lined up all the polystyrene foam cups made in just 1 day they would circle the earth.
  • In one year along, approximately 684,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions were saved by recycling the UK’s plastics, the equivalent of taking 216,000 cars off the road! (BPF).
  • There are about 1,000 milk jugs and other bottles in a recycled plastic park bench. (RECOUP)
  • Recycling just one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60W light bulb for six hours (Recoup)
Glass Facts »
  • Each UK family uses an average of 500 glass bottles and jars annually.
  • The largest glass furnace produces over 1 million glass bottles and jars per day.
  • Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again.
  • Glass that is thrown away and ends up in landfills and will never decompose.
  • 1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
Paper Facts »
  • 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials.
  • One tonne of paper from recycled pulp saves:
    - 17 trees
    - 3 cubic yards of landfill space
    - 7,000 gallons of water
    - 4,200 kWh
    - 390 gallons of oil
    - prevents pounds of air pollutants
  • Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials.
  • 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used annually in the UK.
  • The average person in the UK gets through 38kg of newspapers per year.
  • It takes 24 trees to make 1 ton of newspaper.
Can Facts »
  • 24 million tonnes of aluminium is produced annually, 51,000 tonnes of which ends up as packaging in the UK.
  • If all cans in the UK were recycled, we would need 14 million fewer dustbins.
  • £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away each year.
  • Aluminium cans can be recycled and ready to reuse in just 6 weeks.
  • 1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
Wood Facts »
  • The number of trees felled In one day globally would cover Barbados.
  • Each year, 750,000 tonnes of wood are thrown away - only 300,000 tonnes are recycled.
  • Each year, one million trees are chopped down to make 44 million British Telephone Directories, most of which are never used.
Household Facts »
  • The largest lake in the Britain could be filled with rubbish from the UK in 8 months.
  • On average, 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as rubbish.
  • Almost half of the contents of our dustbins could potentially be recycled.
  • We could compost an additional 30% of vegetable peelings and other organic waste that we throw away.
  • Despite the potential to recycle or compost around 68% of our waste, we are only recycling or composting 15%.
  • Making compost from kitchen and garden waste can reduce 50% of all refuse going to landfill.
  • The unreleased energy contained in the average dustbin each year could power a television for 5,000 hours.
  • In 1 hour we produce enough waste in the UK to fill the Albert Hall. (Waste watch)
  • In 1 day there would be enough waste to fill Trafalgar Square to the top of Nelson’s Column. (Waste watch)
  • In 1 year there would be enough waste to fill dustbins stretching from the Earth to the Moon. Waste watch)
  • Recycled materials can return to the marketplace in as little as 30 days.
Transport Facts »
  • Tune your car properly and reduce fuel usage by 5%.
  • Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
Fossil Fuel Facts »
  • Fossil fuels are depleted at a rate 100,000 times faster than they are formed.
  • Oil accounts for a quarter of all pollution incidents; one can of oil poured onto a lake can cover an area the size of two football pitches.
Household Facts »
  • The cost of the average Christmas lunch is estimated at £14 per person but the ingredients could have flown 84,612 miles producing the same amount of greenhouse gas from planes as 50,000 three-bedroom semis in a year.
  • In 2004, the UK sent 744 million Christmas cards; if they were all recycled, it would have saved 248,000 trees.
  • In 2005, only 82 million cards were recycled but it diverted 1,630 tonnes of rubbish from landfill sites.
  • In 2001 only 1.2 million of the 7.5 million Christmas tress bought were recycled; the rest created enough rubbish to fill the Albert Hall in London three times
Other Facts »
  • One litre of solvent is enough to contaminate 100 million litres of drinking water.
  • UK uses over six million toner cartridges annually - approximately 50% end up in landfill sites.
  • 60 million fluorescent tubes are sold in the UK every year; very few are recycled - One tube can pollute 30.000 litres of water beyond a safe level of drinking.
  • The firework display held on the Eve of the Millennium created more dioxins in fifteen minutes than an Energy from Waste incinerator would produce in 120 years.

* All facts listed above have been sourced where original source is available, other facts that are unsourced have been collected from the public domain and are correct to the best of our knowledge but EcoForce cannot be held accountable as to their accuracy.

What can we do? »

Green Facts