As we move into the new year, it’s important to be mindful of our impact on the environment. One way to do this is by recycling. Recycling helps to reduce pollution, conserve resources, and save energy. Here are ten recycling statistics that show just how important recycling is for our planet.
1. In 2021, at least 85 percent of US plastic waste was disposed of in landfills.
According to a new report by the environmental groups Beyond Plastics and The Every Beach Of the 40 million tons of plastic waste produced in the United States last year, just five to six percent, or around two million tons, was recycled. Approximately 85 percent was disposed of in landfills, with the remaining ten percent burnt. According to the survey, plastic recycling had declined since 2018, when it stood at 8.7 percent.
2. Approximately 98% of single-use plastic products are derived from fossil fuels.
Plastic production has increased faster than any other material since the 1970s. If current growth rates continue, worldwide primary plastic production is expected to reach 1,100 million tonnes by 2050. We’ve also seen an alarming shift toward single-use plastic products designed to be discarded after a single, brief usage.
Approximately 98% of single-use plastic products are from fossil fuel or “virgin” feedstock. The greenhouse gas emissions related to the manufacturing, use, and disposal of conventional fossil fuel-based plastics are expected to reach 19% of the global carbon budget by 2040.
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3. Less than 10% of the seven billion tonnes of plastic waste that have been produced globally has yet to have been recycled.
Less than 10 percent of all created plastics, according to estimates, have been recycled (Dauvergne 2018; Zheng and Suh 2019; Geyer 2020). Lack of knowledge about the components of plastic items is one of the leading causes of today’s low recycling rates, which can result in quality loss through the blending of waste streams (Leslie et al. 2016). Millions of tons of plastic waste are ultimately lost to the environment as a result of this, or they have transported hundreds of miles to places where they are typically burned or dumped in waterways (UNEP 2019b).
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4. Import restrictions in nations like Turkey have contributed to a reduction in recycling.
While recycling has become more common in recent years, plastic recycling is still far from perfect. In fact, up until recently, the United States imported a sizable amount of its plastic from other countries. However, import restrictions in nations like Turkey and China have contributed to a reduction in recycling. As a result, plastic recycling has become more complex and expensive. Despite these challenges, recycling is still a meaningful way to reduce waste and protect the environment. By recycling plastic, we can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. And by using recycled plastic, we can help to conserve resources and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
5. Every year, roughly 400 million tons of plastic trash are produced worldwide.
Most of this plastic is not recycled and ends up in landfills or the ocean. This plastic pollution is a threat to the environment and human health.
6. It takes about 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down in a landfill.
Did you know that it can take up to 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down in a landfill? That’s quite some time! And during that time, the plastic will release chemicals into the ground, which will eventually make their way into our water supply. Recycling is essential because of this. It not only lessens the quantity of waste that ends up in landfills, but it also contributes to energy and resource conservation.
7. Every year, Americans buy almost 50 billion water bottles, or roughly 13 bottles for each American.
Using a reusable water bottle would allow you to avoid an average of 156 plastic bottles yearly.
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8. Five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide annually.
A bag may take up to a thousand years to totally decompose. Each year, Americans discard 100 billion bags, which is the equivalent of approximately 12 million barrels of crude oil! This waste, which equals about 307 bags per person, can be eliminated by using reusable shopping bags.
9. The nation with the highest percentage of recycled plastic is India (60%).
The India recycling system collects used recycling from households and recycling centers and then reprocesses it into new products. The recycling process not only helps to reduce pollution but also conserves energy and resources. In India, recycling is mandatory for some materials, such as electronic waste. As a result, India has the highest percentage of recycled plastic in the world. recycling plays an important role in supporting the Indian economy and protecting the environment.
10. Every year, 500 billion plastic cups are used worldwide.
It is estimated that we use 500 billion plastic cups every year. While they are convenient, plastic cups can have a major impact on the environment. Most of them are not recyclable, which means they end up in landfills where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. Furthermore, the production of plastic cups requires fossil fuels, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
There are some simple steps we can all take to reduce our reliance on plastic cups. For example, we can invest in reusable cups or mugs for our daily coffee. We can also request no straws or cup lids when ordering drinks at cafes. If we all make a small effort, we can make a big difference when it comes to reducing our plastic consumption.
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Recycling Statistics Final Thoughts
Although recycling is important, it’s not the only way to be sustainable. There are many small things we can do to make a difference for the environment. By making small changes in our everyday lives, we can have a big impact on the planet. So next time you go to throw something away, think about whether or not it could be recycled.
For more information about sustainability and how you can help, check out our website. We have tons of resources that will teach you everything from how to recycle correctly to ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.
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