In Britain, we produce enough rubbish to fill Trafalgar Square to the top of Nelson’s Column every day.
Each year, one person gets through 90 drink cans, 70 food cans, 107 bottles and jars and 45kg of plastic.
The UK uses about 12 billion cans each year. If placed end to end they would stretch to the moon and back!
Disposable nappies can take up to 500 years to decompose.
On average each person in England and Wales produces nearly 500kg of household waste a year.
The average British family throws away 6 trees worth of paper in their household bin a year.
Every tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees.
25% of household waste is packaging, and we throw £36 million worth of aluminium into landfill sites.
Sadly, five out of six glass bottles are thrown straight into the dustbin and only 2.5% of plastic bottles in Europe are recycled.
The UK uses a forest the size of Wales every year in paper.
Top Tips for Recycling
1. Recycle? Of course, it’s the only way forward.
Facilities for recycling paper, glass, cans, cardboard and plastic are becoming widespread all over the UK.
Try to use them! If you’re not already doing so, contact your local council for more information, and whether they offer recycling collections for household rubbish.
2. Try the process of making a conscious choice to purchase or use products and services which will have a less harmful impact on the Environment.
This guarantees that the wood has been produced/grown sustainably.
3. Fill a small plastic watertight container with water and put it in your toilet cistern. This will reduce the amount of water used each time you flush the loo.
By the end of the year the amount is amazing.
4. Make the effort to make one less car journey on your own each week. Walk, cycle, take the bus or train or share a lift with someone else.
You’ll be reducing your contribution to pollution by around 10-15%
5. Buy recycled. Choose to buy products that are made from recycled material.
6. You should try and use/buy wood and wooden products carrying the Forest Stewardship Council ‘Woodmark’.
Dolphin friendly/line caught Tuna, sustainable crops, biodegradable materials.
7. Check out who else is offering the ability to recycle. Oil at petrol stations; plastic bags at shops and supermarkets; garden waste at garden centres; etc.
If you pass on your waste to recycling facilities without then buying recycled products, you’re only making a token gesture. Most of us are members of a market driven economy to some degree, if there is no demand for recycled products, recycling will in itself fail. Choose products that are made of or packaged in recyclable material. Paper bags, cardboard boxes, glass bottles, aluminium and tin cans, and some plastics are easily recycled.
8. Packaging. Product packaging accounts for about 33% of all household rubbish.
If we refuse to buy products that are over packaged, the manufacturers will be forced to change their packaging to be more environmentally responsive.
9. Reuse items. Try to reuse items as many times as possible. If you do not have a use for items that are still good or operational, donate them to a local charity or environmental organization. Ask to see their wish list, you may have something they need. Many items can also be used for things other than the original reason for buying. Be creative!
More reUse Tips
10. When it comes to paper products, recycled is not always as environmentally friendly, so check for Chlorine free products as well, if you are not sure if the paper is sourced from sustainable forestry.
11. Avoid disposable and one-time use products. These waste resources and energy. In most cases there are reusable alternatives.
12. Buy in bulk or concentrated forms when ever possible. This will usually save you money and reduces the amount of waste packaging that is thrown away.
13. When you go about your everyday business at work e.t.c, ask about the Environmental policy, to raise awareness. It will probably save them money and benefit everyone in the long run.
14. Complain if you are not happy about the packaging you see, speak out about it. Let manufacturers and shop owners know that you are not happy with the way a product is packaged. Explain why you’re buying power as a group is worthy of note to the big boys of business.
15. If you have a garden, and need compost or not, then compost your kitchen and garden waste at home by using a compost bin or compost heap.
This can help reduce your waste by 20-25% and fertilize your soil for nothing.
16. Junk mail, receiving wads of leaflets you’ll never look at. It’s really annoying too…
You can write to Mail Preference Services, Freepost 22, LONDON W1E 7EX to remove your name from mailing lists which are sold to companies who send junk mail. It’s a” freepost” service.
17. Polystyrene and plastic stuff. Don’t use plastic and polystyrene plates and cups. If the fast food outlet on the corner does, ask them why they don’t use paper based versions.
18. If you use a computer at home with an ink based printer, then recycle or re-fill the cartridges.
19. When you go shopping take your own reusable shopping bags, or the plastic carrier bags from previous trips.
Use plastic bags as kitchen and bathroom bin liners.
20. Don’t throw away unwanted clothes, toys or household goods. Charity shops and organizations are always in need of such materials.
Or use them as floor cloths and rags.
Technology is evolving so rapidly that the average computer is changed every two years and mobile phones are upgraded about every 18 months.
Claire Snow, Director of the Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling (www.icer.org.uk) records “Almost 300,000 tonnes of computer equipment becomes waste every year,”
Around 50 per cent of this amount is recycled. But the rest ends up as landfill, from which dangerous chemicals such as lead, mercury and chromium can leach into the environment.
Computer equipment recycling centres.
The REI is a network of computer refurbishment centres benefiting businesses, communities and the environment.
Donate old equipment.
You can donate old computer equipment and mobile phones to charity!
Computer Aid International
(www.computer-aid.org) would love to refurbish your computer and send it to somewhere in need overseas.
Send your printer and toner cartridges, PCs and mobiles to Office Green (www.officegreen.co.uk), and add to the company’s £600,000 of charitable donations since 1996.
Computers For Charity (www.computersforcharity.co.uk) recycles computers for community groups around the UK – both offer a collection service.
Environmental Mobile Control (www.emc-recycle.com) donates £3 to charity for each mobile they receive.
Oxfam (www.oxfam.org.uk), SCOPE (www.scope.org.uk) will take them off your hands directly.