Some Recycling Facts and Figures

Like all the other members of the Gumamah network, I take a great deal of interest in rubbish – where it comes from, and more importantly, where it goes to. On one of my regular meanders around the internet, a number of interesting facts and figures about rubbish and recycling came to my attention, and I thought I would share them with you. In the last year, in the UK, we apparently produced of 30 million tonnes of rubbish, of which less than 20% was separated out for recycling – these figures came from DEFRA (the government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).

Compared to some of our nearest EU member countries, our recycling rate is really low; some of them achieve over 50%, and it means we’re chucking lots more stuff into landfill than we should. The problem with landfill is that it’s not only a threat to the environment, it also takes up lots of space and sometime soon we’re going to run out of places to put waste – after all, the UK is a relatively small landmass, with lots of people living on it, and space is always at a premium.

Don’t bin it, recycle it

Did you know that roughly 16% of the cost of a typical product goes to make the packaging, and which therefore ends up being thrown away? That was an eye-opener for me. 16p of every £1 you spend gets thrown away when you buy packaged goods! Let’s take a look at a couple of the items that end up in landfill when they really should be recycled.

Glass, Bottles, Recycled Glass, Garbage

Glass bottles and jars

On average in the UK, a family will produce 500 glass jars and bottles each year – the glass is totally recyclable, whatever colour it is, and a glass item put into landfill will never degrade or go away. Once it’s there, it’s there, which is a shame because making new glass and making it into a bottle consumes enough power to run a computer for nearly half an hour. A bottle made out of recycled glass is a great deal more energy efficient, and we are already being warned that we are reaching a situation where we won’t be able to produce enough power in the UK to keep all our lights on 100% of the time, so anything that saves power is good for us all.

paper for recycling


Paper has the advantage that if it does get into landfill, at least it will bio degrade over time, but it shouldn’t get there in the first place – paper was one of the first materials to be routinely collected for recycling, so there’s no excuse. Recycling paper takes 70% less energy than making it from scratch, so don’t bin that newspaper or junk mail, recycle it.

I’ll need to come back to this subject

This is such a big subject, I will need to come back to it in a future blog – I would just like to sign off by reminding you that responsible recycling is a duty that we all share. Whether it is your own domestic waste you are dealing with, or waste products from a commercial enterprise, you need to be sure that when waste is taken away for disposal, it ends up in the right place to be handled appropriately. You can trust a Gumamah network member to cost-effectively remove your rubbish, and with an average recycling rate of 85% and a keen eye on environmental impact, you can be certain that everything that can be reused or recycled will be, and anything that’s left over will make its way to the appropriate place to be disposed of – legally and ethically.

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