Over the past decade, the UK has recycled an astonishing 50bn plastic drinks bottles – enough, laid end-to-end, to stretch to the moon and back more than 10 times over.
This is just one of impressive facts to come to light as Recycle Week – the national event to encourage more people to recycle more things more often – celebrates its 10th anniversary.
During the same period, local authority recycling schemes across the UK have collected materials like card, paper, plastic and glass worth a staggering £2.4bn.
- Paper and card worth around £1bn
- Plastic worth around £339m
- Mixed cans worth around £174m
- Mixed glass worth around £153m
- Textiles worth around £124m
Launched as The BIG Recycle, the annual event has played an important role in helping consumers understand what can and can’t be recycled in a decade which has seen huge changes and improvements to recycling collections and services.
Lord de Mauley – “We’ve made great strides in household recycling and over the next decade we can look forward to doing much more to reduce waste in the first place”
“As a nation, we’ve come a long way since we first began to take recycling seriously,” said WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin.
“This is good news for the environment – it means we’re sending less waste to landfill and making better use of the natural materials that go into the products we use every day.
“It is also hugely important for our economy. The UK recycling sector now generates more than £13bn a year in sales of recycled materials, employs more than 40,000 people and contributes around £3bn-worth of additional value each year to the UK economy.
“The sector has also increased its sales revenue threefold since 1998, outstripping growth in the overall economy over the same period of time.”
“This progress is thanks to huge effort by the public, local councils, businesses, community groups and charities, many of whom use WRAP’s www.recyclenow.com and www.recyclenowpartners.org.uk websites, and Recycle Week’s resources to help them,” said Liz.
“Given this progress, you may be asking whether we still need Recycle Week. The truth is, there’s still more we can all do to recycle more things, more often – to capture more of the valuable materials that are collected for recycling in our own area.
“For example, take the humble plastic bottle – householders are now recycling more than 50 per cent of these and most councils collect them now. This is great news, but that means there’s still about half ending up in landfill!”
Defra Resource Management Minister Lord de Mauley said: “Dealing with waste and recycling properly not only makes environmental sense but also good business sense. We’ve made great strides in household recycling and over the next decade we can look forward to doing much more to reduce waste in the first place.
“Reusing and recycling products and materials will also open up new avenues.”