Recycling by the Numbers

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It feels like the environmentally conscious choir has been singing the Three Rs song for so long people have become immune to (if not bored by) it. Some people (friends of mine) have even gone as far as to say, the whole world knows about recycling, that a lot of people are doing it and that nobody was missing their contributions. In case you are feeling that way I have put together some facts and figures, which I hope will encourage you to do your part. Numbers that I hope will help you realise that we need you to play your part.

    1. It was estimated in 2010 that South Africans produced 18 tonnes worth of domestic waste annually, all of which was destined for landfills.
    2. Once an area becomes a landfill it will take decades to restore it to be used for anything else, if at all.
    3. An average person produces from 500 g to 2 kg worth of waste daily.
    4. Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to run a television set for up to three hours.
    5. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100 watts light bulb for four hours.
    6. Plastic takes up to 400 yeas to breakdown in a landfill.
    7. All steel cans can be recycled and they all contain about 25% of recycled material.
    8. The energy used to recycle paper is 70% less than the energy it takes create paper from scratch.
    9. Water is abused and even though most of Earth is water only 1% of that water is drinkable. It's increasingly becoming a scarce resource.
    10. Glass is 100% recyclable.
What You can do:
  1. Refuse plastic! In South Africa it has become a bit easy to do this since Plastic bags now cost about 30 cents each. Buy reusable (and recyclable) shopping bags.
  2. Print on both sides of your paper and recycle waste paper, companies like Mondi have been fantastic about this.
  3. Anything organic (tea bags, vegetable peels etc) can be used to make a compost for your garden.
  4. Use energy saving globes/light bulbs and dispose of them accurately. Don't put the in your rubbish bags they have mecury, rather find out which sores have a take back service.
  5. Use rechargeable batteries. They have up to 32% less impact on the environment, whereas disposable alkaline batteries can poison 500 litres of water for 50 years.

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