recycling rates down this year

…oh dear – NOT going to meet the 2020 targets and waste creation on the rise. It’s one hell of a mess!

CIWM notes the disappointing trend in recycling performance across councils in England, recently released by Defra in the Statistics on Waste Management by Local Authorities in England 2012/13 report. This trend has been evident and commented upon by CIWM over the last couple of years and Defra now admit that this rate of increase is insufficient to meet the 50% EU target by 2020.

CIWM sees this as a direct result of the increasing financial pressures on local government. These are examples of authorities either pulling back from the improvements to waste services (e.g. introducing food waste collection), curtailing existing services (e.g. charging for green waste collection) or reducing their communications programmes. Taken together, the net effect of these spending constraints is showing itself in this loss of momentum in household recycling improvement across England.



Wasting away – how much rubbish do we create?

Whats new in the bin – check back here for updated rubbish factoids.

“Discarding many human-made items, from plastic straws to nuclear waste to nail polish, rank as events at the same space-time scale as massive earthquakes and global climate change. Since the 1930′s, humans have been making geological garbage.”
read whole article

Plastic Stats

Fibres, Fabrics & Clothing – stats & info

Fibres are short fine hairs. Fibres can be can be natural, synthetic or chemically produced hybrid called regenerated fibres. Fibres ...
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Nappies, tampons and wet wipes – dirty!

Nappies The liner or topsheet - made of the plastic polymer polypropylene - sits next to the baby's skin and ...
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Disposing Of Plastic

In this post you can read about the many ways we dispose of plastic. Most plastics are made from oil ...
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Reports & Statistics Index

Post Index Wasting Away - how much rubbish do we create globally Definitions You can find definitions, clarifications and explanations here ...
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Food Waste

Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. We throw away ...
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Plastic Trash By Country

Statistics can be wobbly and there will be discrepancies between reports but even bearing that in mind it is obvious ...
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Weee / Electronic Waste

 Between now and the end of 2020, WRAP estimates that electronic products purchased in the UK will total around 10 ...
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Latest waste stats

A staggering eight million metric tones of  are discharged into the oceans each year from the world’s 192 coastal countries, according to an international study published in the journal Science in February, which was based on 2010 data.

Read more at:

April 18, 2008 and the Ocean Conservancy released a report based on their beach cleanup efforts. On one day 380000 volunteers picked up six million pounds of rubbish data sheets ahowing rubbish break down by type location and source are available to download

Each year 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste is buried in UK landfill
*Based on the Carpet Recycling UK annual survey in 2013 which collected self-reported figures from carpet recyclers throughout the UK and an estimate of incineration of carpets by local authorities.

Carpets are made from natural and synthetic fibres, which still have a value once the carpet is no longer wanted; they can be used in a wide range of applications from sports surfaces to insulation.

Carpet Recycling UK is a not for profit membership association working to increase the recycling of carpet waste across the UK

The 2.5 billion synthetic cups thrown away in Britain every year are made from a mixture of materials which prevents them from being recycled alongside paper and cardboard. Daily Mail

A report conducted jointly by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation and Starbucks found that 1.9 billion cups were used by Starbucks in 2000.[5] In 2006, Starbucks reported that this figure had grown to 2.3 billion cups for use at their stores.[6]…

At the University of Washington, a college of roughly 42 thousand students, the Housing and Food Services Department estimates that 5000 paper coffee cups are thrown away every school day.…


how much energy goes into plastic ?

Interesting stuff from Low Tech Magazine

How much energy does it take (on average) to produce 1 kilogram of the following materials?

•Wood (from standing timber): 3-7MJ (830 to 1,950 watt-hours).
•Steel (from recycled steel): 6-15MJ (1,665 to 4,170 watt-hours).
•Aluminum (from 100 % recycled aluminum): 11.35-17MJ (3,150 to 4,750 watt-hours)
•Iron (from iron ore): 20-25MJ (5,550 to 6,950 watt-hours)
•Glass (from sand, etcetera): 18-35MJ (5,000 to 9,700 watt-hours)
•Steel (from iron): 20-50MJ (5,550 to 13,900 watt-hours)
•Paper (from standing timber): 25-50MJ (6,950 to 13,900 watt-hours)
•Plastics (from crude oil): 62-108MJ (17,200 to 31,950 watt-hours)
•Copper (from sulfide ore): 60-125MJ (16,600 to 34,700 watt-hours)
•Aluminum (from a typical mix of 80% virgin and 20% recycled aluminum): 219 MJ (60,800 watt-hours)
•Silicon (from silica): 230-235MJ (63,900 to 65,300 watt-hours)
•Nickel (from ore concentrate): 230-270MJ (63,900 to 75,000 watt-hours)
•Aluminum (from bauxite): 227-342MJ (63,000 to 95,000 watt-hours)
•Titanium (from ore concentrate): 900-940MJ (250,000 to 261,000 watt-hours)
•Electronic grade silicon (CVD process): 7,590-7,755MJ (2,108,700 to 2,154,900 watt-hours).

Note: 1 megajoule (MJ) = 277.77 watt-hour (Wh)



Weee / Electronic Waste

 Between now and the end of 2020, WRAP estimates that electronic products purchased in the UK will total around 10 million tonnes. A quarter of this will comprise of IT equipment, consumer electronics and display screens. This 10 million tonnes will include precious metals, such as 20 tonnes of gold, 400 tonnes of silver and 7 tonnes of Platinum Group Metals. These have a total estimated market value of £1.5 billion [Dec 13].Waste on line

According to DEFRA figures, white goods make up 5% of household waste. 7 WEEE analysis shows that the average person will consume 3.3 tonnes of electronic waste in their lifetime, or on average around 0.016 tonnes (16 kg) per year.

Most of the components of electronic waste are recyclable, a fridge may contain as much as 95% recoverable material, whereas 96% of an old television could be made into new televisions.  do the green thing.

Wee waste has to be specially disposed of….

The directors of Warrington-based Daniels Recycling, who pleaded guilty last week to illegally exporting electrical waste to West Africa, have criticised the Environment Agency for its handling of the case.

Daniels Recycling Ltd is run by married couple Mark Daniels, 51, and Lynn Gallop, 52. At Warrington Crown Court last week, the pair pleaded guilty to illegally exporting 187 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Gambia and Togo between 2011 and 2015. They were ordered by the court to pay fines and costs totalling £130,000.


domestic waste created in the US in 2008

Material Weight Generated Weight Recovered Recovery as Percent of Generation
Paper and paperboard 77.42 42.94 55.5%
Glass 12.15 2.81 23.1%
Steel 15.68 5.29 33.7%
Aluminum 3.41 0.72 21.1%
Other nonferrous metals 1.76 1.21 68.8%
Total metals 20.85 7.22 34.6%
Plastics 30.05 2.12 7.1%
Rubber and leather 7.41 1.06 14.3%
Textiles 12.37 1.89 15.3%
Wood 16.39 1.58 9.6%
Other materials 4.50 1.15 25.6%
Total materials in products 181.14 60.77 33.5%
Other wastes
Food, other 31.79 0.80 2.5%
Yard trimmings 32.90 21.30 64.7%
Miscellaneous inorganic wastes 3.78 Negligible Negligible
Total other wastes 68.47 22.10 32.3%
Total municipal solid waste 249.61 82.87 33.2%

Taken from