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Thinking inside the box

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Paper and Recycling Waste Facts

  • Every year we need a forest the size of Wales to provide all the paper we use in Britain (source: Waste Watch)
  • The amount of waste paper buried each year would fill 103,448 double decker buses, which if parked nose to tail would go all the way from London to Milan (source: Waste Watch)
  • Every day 80 million food and drinks cans end up in landfill (being buried) – that’s one and a half cans per person (source: Waste Watch)
  • We fill about 300 million square metres of land with rubbish every year, that’s the same as covering the pitch at Manchester United Football Club’s ground, 28,450 times (source: Waste Watch)
  • We produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did in the 1950’s! (source: Waste Watch)
  • Every year the average British family throws away 6 trees worth of paper (source: Waste Watch)
  • Recycling just one plastic bottle can save the same amount of energy needed to power a 60watt lightbulb for 6 hours (source: Environment Agency)
  • About 20,000 tonnes of aluminium foil packaging (worth £8 million) is wasted each year. Only 3,000 tonnes is recycled (worth £1.2 million) (source: alupro)
  • If all the aluminium cans sold in the UK were recycled, there would be 12 million fewer full dustbins each year (source: Alucan website)
  • An average person throws away 74kg of organic waste each year, which is the same as 1077 banana skins
  • Each year food shops give away enough carrier bags to cover the whole of London with a layer of bags
  • Estimates put the amount of rubbish dropped per year in 1964 at five million tonnes. By 2001, that figure was above 25 million tonnes
  • Globally, an estimated one million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die every year from entanglement in, or ingestion, of plastics
  • 900 million items of clothing are sent to landfill each year
  • On average, each person in the UK throws away seven times their body weight in rubbish every year
  • Producing steel from recycled materials saves 75% of the energy needed to make steel from virgin materials (source: Eco Schools)
  • A banana skin can take up to two years to decompose if not disposed of properly(source: Eco Schools)
  • The volume of waste we produce in one day is enough to fill Trafalgar Square up to the top of Nelson’s Column (source: Eco Schools)
  • The UK uses over six billion glass bottles and jars each year. It would take you over three and a half thousand years to sing “Six Billion Green Bottles”! (source: Waste Watch)
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