It is almost impossible to accurately work out how much recycling gets done every year. There are too many ways to recycle just a plastic bottle, never mind everything else, that it gets tricky trying to figure out how many bottles got recycled in any given country during the year. But that doesn’t stop people from trying to figure it out, even if it is just to shame the countries that really aren’t doing so well.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the country famed for it’s efficiency is the most efficient recycler in the world. Germany is estimated to have recycled 65% of it’s recyclable waste. That means in theory that for every 100 plastic bottles in Germany 65 of them are getting recycled. And the same could be said for any other recyclable item. The does unfortunately mean that 35% is still just getting thrown into landfill somewhere. But Germany is doing the best job of any country in the world so are we really going to tell them off for it?
Another winner in the recycling estimates is Poland. This is because as a nation they have improved they’re recycling rates by 886% since 2000. Though if you think about it, they could have been doing tremendously badly and all of a sudden an 886% improvement doesn’t sound as good. I recycle one bottle in a year and the next year I did it 8.86 times and I’m a winner.
Mostly Europe is putting everyone else to shame because countries like Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden are all recycling more than 50% of their recyclable goods. Nice job. Though Turkey’s dismal 1% certainly dented Europe’s average. And to no one’s surprise America is doing a pretty average job only achieving 35%. Though what did confuse me while I was looking at all these stats was New Zealand. I always imagine it to be a nation of somewhat conscientious people. Sat next door to Australia, who by the way are scoring 41%, New Zealand are somehow scoring a big fat 0%… Did they just not take part in the data collection? Are they recycling nothing? What’s going on down there?
All this information is just a nice preamble for me to tell you I did my recycling today. You’re welcome UK. Your stats will not be destroyed by my laziness today. Ordinarily you could just put your recycling bins out for the chaps to come and collect. But if I did my bins would get nicked. So I don’t and I take them to the recycling place myself. The joys of living in a shitty part of town…
And if you were wondering what happens to your recycled stuff, I found that How It’s Made is an excellent source of information…
Aluminium Cans – Unfortunately this is the American version so we have to put up with them saying aluminium wrong… a lot.