Britain recycles £1bn worth of waste
by David Masters
March 26, 2009
Britain has recycled more than £1 billion worth of waste since 2003, according to figures released this month by Recycle Now.
The UK recycled 30% of its waste in 2008, Recycle Now said, nearly twice as much as five years ago.
All the glass, metal, plastic and paper sent by the UK for recycling since 2003 is worth £1.1 billion, with even more money saved in landfill costs.
England alone has recycled nearly 34 million tonnes of waste since 2003.
That’s enough waste to cover the City of London with rubbish 40 metres high, and would have cost £1.8 billion to be sent to landfill.
Laura Underwood from Recycle Now said: “Recycling is a success story and it’s having a major impact.
“We’ve saved 30 million tons of CO2 which is the same as taking a third of our cars off UK roads for a year.”
In the last year UK households have recycled 3.3 billion aluminium cans, 8 billion steel food cans, 2.1 billion 750ml wine bottles, and 6.6 billion newspapers.
The aluminium cans would circle the world ten times if placed end-to-end, whilst the steel from the food cans is seven times the amount used to build Wembley Stadium.
However, with the global economic downturn, the price of recyclable waste has dropped, and some environmentalists are worried about the future of recycling.
However, Underwood believes their concern is misplaced.
She said: “Despite a dip in prices for recycled materials, more than 95% of material put out for recycling is being recycled, helping make the best use of ever scarcer resources.
“The feedback we’re getting from recycling businesses on the ground is that markets are open and recycling is still worth a considerable amount to the UK economy at today’s prices.”
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