Lesson 2 of 5
In Progress

2. Recycling And Waste

Graham Soper 7 January 2021
  • It’s frightening to consider that by 2100, the global urban population will produce three times more waste than today.  
  • Paper, as you know, comes from trees and every day, 27,000 trees are cut down so we can have Toilet Paper.  Let’s hope more and more paper used in this way comes from recycled paper. 
  • Did you know that paper can be recycled six times, after which, sadly, its fibres become too weak to hold together. For example, though, if the entire daily run of any country’s popular magazine or newspaper was to be recycled, it could save about 75,000 trees.  And let’s not forget that trees play an important role in reducing global CO2 levels. 
  • American companies alone use enough paper every year to encircle the Earth three times.  So, it’s great for the environment and all of us that more and more businesses are moving towards going paperless. 
  • Aluminium, on the other hand, can be recycled continuously, as in forever. Recycling just one aluminium can save enough energy to run a TV for at least 3 hours. It’s a staggering statistic that 80 trillion aluminium cans are used by humans every year. 
  • We use 5 trillion plastic bags a year That’s about 160,000 bags a second. When you throw plastic bags and other plastic materials in the ocean, it kills as many as one million sea creatures annually.  So, it’s great news that plastic bags are now banned from supermarkets in more and more countries. 
  • Plastic is Forever. It doesn’t bio-degrade and go back to nature. It photo-degrades into smaller pieces of itself, continually polluting the environment throughout its life cycle. 
  • The USA throws away enough plastic bottles in a week to encircle the Earth five times! And they’re only 5% of our population. 
  • Plastic doesn’t decompose easily either.  Styrofoam and plastic bags take up to one thousand years to decompose. When they are thrown into the water, they contribute to the deaths of thousands of marine animals, let alone plastic pollution as well as contaminating the water and soil.  But many plastics can now be recycled. 
  • According to a 2018 article in Nature Magazine, the Great Pacific Plastic Garbage Patch stretches 1.6 million km2. That’s the size of Iran or over twice the size of Texas . 
  • A glass bottle made in our time will take more than 4,000 years to decompose.  But glass too can be easily recycled, saving money and saving energy.  In fact, recycling one glass bottle will save enough energy to power a laptop for 30 minutes. 
  • Landfills are composed of 35% packaging materials and up to half of all food produced is lost or wasted before or after it reaches consumers. 
  • America is the world’s number one trash-producing nation, accounting for 30% of the world’s waste, despite only having 5% of the world’s population.