17 Shocking Facts About Recycling In The UK

Tue 9 Aug 2016 Amy Kilvington

17 shocking facts about recycling in the UK

Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill, lessens pollution, creates jobs, saves energy, and conserves natural resources like timber and water… So why don’t more of us do it?

Last year, household waste recycling rates dropped to 44.3%, meaning well over half of the rubbish we generate was thrown in the bin. This is in spite of every council in the UK providing a recycling collection service, with 70% of Local Authorities collecting at the kerbside (only a small handful don’t collect directly).


While it’s not compulsory, recycling is certainly a necessity. By reducing the rubbish in our wheelie bins and allowing our plastic, paper, metal and glass waste to have a second lease of life, we make a great contribution to protecting the environment long term.

Recycling is the process of converting materials otherwise classed as ‘waste’ into new, reusable items. Reusing these materials means there’s less demand for raw ones, which helps maintain our planet’s natural resources and prevents additional pollution. Recycling also protects wildlife, as it lessens the amount of waste that finds its way into ecosystems, destroying habitats and killing animals. What’s more, recycling saves money – we’d be daft not to do it!

Unfortunately, many people still don’t realise the damage they’re causing by not recycling. They assume the waste they create is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, or they simply can’t be bothered to rinse out a jar and pop it in the recycling box. Some people are unsure of what can be recycled, and how it should be organised. We recommend visiting your local council’s website, which should provide you with information about what items can and can’t be recycled, and which of your boxes they should go in (you’ll also be able to request new recycling boxes).

We want to share 17 shocking facts about recycling in the UK, which illustrate the sheer scale of our household waste problem, and hopefully encourage more people to go green with their rubbish!

17 shocking facts about recycling in the UK

1. On average, every person in the UK throws away their body weight in waste every 7 weeks

2. Around 80% of our general waste in the wheelie bin could have been recycled

3. Every day, the UK sends over 80 million food and drinks cans to landfill

4. If everyone in the UK recycled 10% more paper, we could save 5 million trees a year

5. 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK (around 15 million plastic bottles per day)

6. Every Sunday nearly 90% off newspapers are thrown away in Britain, the equivalent of throwing half a million trees into landfill

7. Recycling paper takes less energy and creates less population than creating it from raw materials

8. Plastic can take up to 500 years to fully decompose

9. 1 glass bottle can save enough energy to power a computer for half an hour

10. 1 tin can save enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours

11. 1 recycled plastic bottle can save enough energy to power a bulb for 3 hours

12. Plastic bags, bottles and packaging that end up in oceans kill 1 million sea creatures every year

13. If all cans in the UK were recycled we could get rid of 14 million dustbins

14. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be reused over and over again

15. 5 out of every 6 glass bottles are thrown away

16. When a tonne of paper is recycled, 17 trees are saved

17. Aluminium cans can be recycled and ready to use again in around 6 weeks


At Wooden Blinds Direct we feel passionately about protecting the environment, which is why we only use materials from well-managed, FSC approved sources. We also reuse and recycle as much of our waste material as possible, saving it from the dustbin by donating offcuts to schools, making items for charity, and creating new products such as Bundles Of Fun fabric boxes.

Do you make a conscious effort to recycle more? Do you feel passionately about eco-friendly living? Get in touch with us @InteriorGoods and let us know what you think, and be sure to click the button below to discover our range of sustainable wooden blinds.

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