A quick way to save even more energy? Recycle!
How do we love thee, recycling? Let us count the ways…
❤ Recycling protects wildlife habitats, by slowing the demand for fresh resources destructively gathered by logging, mining and quarrying.
❤ Recycling keeps millions of tonnes of useful stuff out of landfill.
❤ Recycling helps to prevent more litter ending up on our streets, in parks, in the countryside and polluting our seas.
❤ Recycling reduces our water footprint, as re-processing used material uses far less fresh water and generates much less water pollution than sourcing materials from scratch.
❤ Recycling has created millions of green jobs, thousands of business opportunities and a whole new circular economy.
❤ Recycling helps to combat air pollution, avert conflict in the world AND slow the pace of climate change.
If that last bullet point has you thinking we’ve finally lost our tiny recycling-obsessed minds, not so! The underlying fact is… recycling saves energy. Lots of energy. Enough energy to cut our British carbon footprint by more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
Recycling saves enough energy to cut our British carbon footprint by more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year
That’s the same improvement in air quality as taking five million cars off the road. That’s millions of tonnes of oil that doesn’t need to be fought over in the Middle East. That’s 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas that won’t be worsening our planet’s climate emergency. Every time you decide to recycle instead of chucking something away, you’re making a positive impact on the wider world. So thank you.
Take a look at the energy impact of your recycling...
Let’s consider three of the most common materials from our recycling collections: paper, plastic bottles and aluminium cans...
Recycling paper saves around 4,000kWh of energy per tonne. For us, that means each time we recycle one of those free newspapers from the bus or train, we’re actually reducing energy usage by approximately 0.6kWh.
Recycling one free newspaper saves enough energy to power a 50” LED television for four hours.
>> Plastic bottles
A tonne of recycled plastic saves something in the region of 5,500kWh of energy. So, each time we put a plastic bottle into our recycling collection, we’re helping to cut our national energy footprint by 0.1kWh.
Recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to boil a full kettle.
>> Aluminium cans
An impressive stat: 20 recycled aluminium cans can be manufactured for the same energy cost as one new can. With the potential to be recycled infinitely without risk of degredation, each tonne of recycled aluminium saves an estimated 14,000kWh in energy usage. In other words, putting that drinks can in the correct slot of the recycling bin lowers its energy cost by 0.2kWh a pop.
Recycling one drinks can saves enough energy to run your desktop computer for 45 minutes.
And if you think recycling’s great… try reducing!
If there’s one decision that beats out recycling at every turn, it’s not to have used the product or packaging in the first place. In these cases, we could read a library book on our commutes instead of picking up a free paper. We could pack a refillable bottle of tap water in your bag instead of buying a plastic bottle of spring water or can of fizzy drink, or pop into a café for a drink from a proper ceramic cup.