Here is some pub quiz ammunition on the topic of recycling. If it ever comes in useful to you, remember who to thank!
Recycling saves a huge amount of energy!
Recycling aluminium cans saves 95% of the energy that it would take to make a virgin aluminium can. One tonne of recycled aluminium saves 14,000Kwh, 40 barrels of oil and 10 cubic yards of space in a landfill.
Recycling plastic (per tonne) saved 5,774Kwh, 16.3 barrels of oil and 4 cubic yards of space in a landfill.
Recycling paper saves 71 gallons of oil per tonne and 60 pounds of Co2 emissions. As well as that, around 7,000 gallons of water are saved and 4.6 cubic yards of space in a landfill.
Recycling affects the price of oil and vice versa!
Oil prices affect recycling prices more adversely that you might think. Making virgin products is an oil intensive process, so you can imagine that when oil prices go down, the demand for recycled materials goes down too. Expensive oil also means expensive recycled materials. Recycling isn’t immediate though, you’d be wrong if you thought that everything gets moved around and reprocessed as soon as possible. When prices are low, businesses with space tend to hang on to their recyclables, if they have the space. Equally, when oil prices are low, people tend to stock up on it, and it’s when the purchasing become more infrequent that prices start to rise again.
We aren’t economists, but oil and recycling affect each other financially.
Celebrities love recycling!
It’s ‘fashionable’ to recycle in some parts of the superstar universe. Often being ‘environmental’ about life is a bit of a publicity stunt, but if it’s done well and the celebs are making a positive impact, why not eh? With the amount of power and sway celebrities have, it’s actually really important that they contribute to the cause.
Whilst recycling outfits is a bit celebrity no-no, recycling plastic bottles into headphones is proving popular. Will.I.Am has been a big player in pushing for a more sustainable approach to life.
Richard Branson loves a bit of recycling, he pours millions into environmental research each year!
Gisele Bundchen, the greenest most beautiful lady alive (as decided by a panel of judges), has her own eco-flip flop range. She’s heavily involved in eco-conservation and resourceful behaviour.
Mel Gibson supports rubber recycling projects and is a fan of paper recycling instead of deforestation. He’s keen to make this known.
Fleece is made from recycled bottles!
Not to be confused with Sheep’s fleece.
That strange soft material that you might wear to walk the dog is actually made from Polyethylene Terephthalate, the same thing as plastic drinks bottles. There are many businesses now making their fleece products from recycled plastic materials as it is environmentally friendly, economically sensible and appeals to a new section of the market who buy ethically.
Recycling is only about 50 or so years old*
Recycling as a movement began in the early sixties by a group of environmentalists who pursued a second life for the amount of waste being produced with the increase in mass and over-production. Before recycling plastic and paper came along, people often reused waste packaging in their homes, turning glass jars into anything from plant pots to storage. Newspaper was not thrown in the bin, it was burned for heat or recycled for stuffing. Material like cotton was used for repairs, and in those days it was normal to have patches of other materials on your clothing. The relatively cheap clothing we are afforded nowadays was not something that existed in the past.
It was in America where curbside collections began and now they happen all over the world!
*50 years is an estimate. It’s different in every country and Historians would probably argue that melting and remoulding things like metal was happening thousands of years ago.