- Claire Kalikman
3 SHOCKING FACTS ABOUT RECYCLING
Image via the Minot Voice
NOVEMBER 9-15 IS NATIONAL RECYCLING WEEK IN AUSTRALIA. Reduce, reuse, recycle….so the saying goes. But how much do we actually recycle here? You’d be surprised.
1. Most food waste ends up in the wrong place
Recycling is great….when it actually happens. Did you know that 8.2 million tonnes of Australia’s food waste ends up in landfill? And that Australians produce 400 kilograms of waste per person each year! That makes Australia one of the highest per capita food wasters in the world. All that food waste could fill 10,000 Olympic swimming pools and only about 5% of total household food waste does not end up in landfill. If food scraps are properly disposed of, they can be used for composting, which enriches soil and reduces emissions of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from landfills. It also significantly reduces the volume of landfill needed in a given area. And recycling food can save cities and towns money by lowering the needed frequency of trash collection.
Image via Reimagine Trash
2. Glass bottles can take 4000 - 1 million years to decompose Aussies consume 1.36 million tonnes of glass packaging per year. If you don’t recycle your glass bottle but dump it instead, it can take up to 4000 to one million years for that glass to completely disintegrate. There is some good news: Glass is 100 percent recyclable, and can be recycled and reprocessed an infinite amount of times without wearing out. Recycling glass not only eliminates glass objects in landfills that threaten the environment but also cuts down air and water pollution. The electricity saved from recycling a single glass bottle could run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
3. E-Waste is responsible for 70% of the toxic chemicals found in landfill E-waste is responsible for 70% of the toxic chemicals, including lead, cadmium and mercury, that ends up in landfill. Currently, Australia generates 700,000 tonnes of e-waste per year, with households producing about 73 kilograms each. Approximately 88% of the 4 million computers and 3 million TVs purchased in Australia are destined to end up in landfill, with fewer than 1% of TVs and 10% of PCs and laptops recycled Australia-wide. To avoid contributing to toxic waste (yikes!), look for special e-recycling sites.
By Claire Kalikman.