The benefits of recycling

Environmentally, the benefits of recycling are substantial. With pressure on landfill sites growing day by day, reusing paper, plastics, cans and bottles is vital for the future of the planet. Government regulations and legislation around recycling are in place to ensure businesses aren’t sending too much commercial waste to landfill. And, with rising taxes on landfill, an effective recycling system can actually be more financially beneficial to you.

Did you know…?

  • One recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a TV for three hours.
  • Recycling one tonne of aluminium saves seven tonnes of CO2. One tonne of CO2 is equivalent to driving 2,800 miles.
  • Up to 60% of rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled, 50% of the waste in the average dustbin could be composted, and the unreleased energy contained in the average dustbin each year could power a television for 5,000 hours.
  • The use of plastic in Western Europe is growing by around 4% a year, with most families throwing away 40kg each year that could be recycled. Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used annually in the UK – it takes 24 trees to make one tonne of newspaper.
  • It takes 70% less energy to recycle paper, compared with making it from raw materials, and recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution.

The good news is, the amount we recycle is increasing every year. But we still need to do more.

  • The UK ‘waste from households’ recycling rate for 2015 was 44.3%.
  • The UK Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) sent to landfill continues to reduce, and was 7.7 million tonnes in 2015.
  • The UK generation of commercial and industrial waste was 27.7 million tonnes in 2015, falling from 32.8 million in 2012.
  • Of the 209 million tonnes of all waste that entered final treatment in the UK in 2014, 44.5% was recovered (including recycling and energy recovery). The proportion that went to landfill was 23.1%.

The Landfill Directive

The Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) aims to prevent or reduce, as far as possible, negative effects of landfilling waste, in particular on surface water, groundwater, soil, air, and on human health, by introducing stringent technical requirements for waste and landfills. Within the Landfill Directive, the UK has three targets to meet, measured as a percentage of the tonnage of BMW generated in 1995 (‘the 1995 baseline’). These require the tonnage of BMW to be no greater than 35% of the 1995 baseline by 2020. In 2015, the UK BMW sent to landfill was 7.7 million tonnes, which is 22% of the 1995 baseline value.

In 2013, 72.7% of UK packaging waste was either recycled or recovered, compared to 69.1% in 2012. With regard to non-hazardous construction and demolition waste, the UK is well above the target of recovering at least 70% by 2020. The recovery rate from non-hazardous construction and demolition waste in the UK in 2012 was 86%.

Other measures in place to increase recycling include the government’s £10 million awareness campaign, Recycle Now.

There are many ways you can reduce the impact your business has on the environment – let us show you how.


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