So many people don't know how to do this & unwittingly add to landfill or make recycling more difficult by not knowing what can and can't be recycled.
Recycling Facts & Stats
Given that the average household throws away almost 13,000 pieces of paper each year, most is packaging and junk mail this is such an easy thing to do that can tangibly help our planet and reduce your footprint.
Best of all - its free! It costs you nothing to recycle your household waste paper, except a little effort and some time to sort properly.
By recycling ALL of your household waste paper (including tissues, paper towels and toilet paper which you can compost) you could be responsible for saving up to 13 trees, 2.5 barrels of oil, up to 4100kWh of electricity, 4 cubic metres of landfill and 31,870 litres of water.
If everyone in Australia recycled their newspaper every day, we could save almost 2 Million trees per year. Tree are one of the best "carbon sinks" the earth has, meaning that tree absorb and hold huge amounts of carbon, year after year. By cutting trees down to make paper, we are destroying something that is actually helping us to restore the balance of the planet by absorbing all our excess carbon.
Think twice and recycle your paper - it just takes a second but makes the world of difference!
It has been said that the energy saved from recycling one glass bottle is enough to light a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours. Imagine how much energy could be save if you recycled every glass bottle or jar that came into your home?
Recycling 1 tonne of glass saves 1.1 tonnes of raw materials (sand, limestone, soda ash). The energy used to make glass out of virgin materials compared to the energy required to recycle glass is far higher - you can save up to 30% on energy output simply by purchasing recycled glass or by properly recycling your own. The reason for that is that crushed glass (called cullet) melts at a much lower temperature than the raw materials which saves huge amounts of energy.
Given that all glass is 100% recyclable it stands to reason that this is one material that should be recycled - every last sliver of it.
Thanks to developments in technology, up to 30% of the materials used in glass production now comes from recycled glass as opposed to raw or virgin materials (like sand or limestone).
One of the great benefits about opting for glass to plastic or other materials is that glass can be recycled again and again indefinitely: hundreds of times, thousands of times, even millions of times! Plastics and paper can only be recycled a few times before they start to break down.
Handy Tip: Refillable glass bottles use 19,000 BTUs of energy as compared to 38,000 BTUs used by throwaway bottles. Which one will you choose?
ALUMINIUM & STEEL
Did you know that up to 95% less energy is needed to make aluminium from used or recycled cans rather than from the raw material, bauxite? A huge amount of energy is saved by recycling aluminium, yet so many cans are still ending up in landfill.
Each aluminium can recycled saves enough electricity to light a 100 watt bulb for 3.5 hours. Aluminium cans and aluminium scrap are recycled into new aluminium products including aeroplanes, cars, and more cans
In addition, did you know that by adding used steel to new steel we can save up to 75% of the energy needed if the steel was made from raw materials? Steel recycling results in 74% savings in energy, 90% savings in virgin materials, 86% reduction in air pollution, 40% reduction in water use, 76% reduction in water pollution and 97% reduction in mining wastes.
There are significant environmental gains from simply recycling your steel cans instead of throwing them into landfill. Steel cans and steel scrap are recycled into new steel products including structural steel, bolts and nuts, coat hangers, reusable steel drink bottles and more steel cans.
By properly sorting and recycling your plastics, you are helping to save approximately 88% of the energy required to produce plastic from the raw materials of oil and gas.
Plastics such as HDPE (e.g. milk bottles) and PP (e.g. ice cream containers) are often recycled into sturdy new products like garden edging, sign posts, compost bins, speed humps, plant pots as well as plastic lumber for picnic tables and park benches, carpet fibre, clothing, automotive parts, paint brushes, and more plastic bottles. These recycled products are robust, built to last and made from your recycled plastics.
Did you know that it takes 125 recycled plastic milk bottles to manufacture a 140 litre wheelie bin from recycled plastic? That's not even a year's supply of milk for most families!
You will often see the below symbols stamped into the bottom of a plastic product such as a bottle, tub or pipe but what do these symbols mean?
These days, in most City Councils, most hard or rigid plastics can be recycled. To be recycled, they are required to be separated into their different polymer types at the Waste Management Facility.
Unfortunately, because of the difficulty and expense of sorting, collecting, cleaning and reprocessing ALL plastics, at the moment it is only economically viable to recycle a few plastic types in particular, PET, HDPE and LDPE.
PET or PETE - Polyethylene terephthalate - Used for plastic drink bottles and the easiest to recycle.
Whilst recycling efforts in Australia are improving, there is still over 21 MILLION TONNES going into landfill each year - with over 60% of that being household waste. So much of that could be recycled, upcycled, composted or re-used with just a little time, effort and know-how.
Please - reconsider your recycling stance at home and cut back on what goes into your rubbish bins.
Love and recyclables,
The Eco Mum xo
City of Melbourne - Waste Collection - Recycling Facts and Figures
Closed Loop Recycling
The Recycling Revolution
EnviroBank - Recycling Facts