Recycling is one of the easiest things you can do to help the environment. Natural resources like wood and fresh water and raw materials like oil and iron ore are all required to make new packaging that we use and throw out. Making products and packaging from recycled materials uses less of these resources.
The recycling process has many benefits including:
- protecting natural habitats by reducing the amount of raw materials being extracted from the environment
- reducing the air and water pollution that is generated through the extraction, refinement and processing of raw materials
- saving energy used in the extraction, refining, transportation and processing of raw materials into products and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- decreasing the amount of rubbish sent to landfill and reducing the need for new waste disposal facilities
- helping communities and the economy by encouraging innovation and creating jobs in the recycling industry
To help save precious resources, check that you are recycling as much of your household waste as you can. Every time you get it right you are making a difference.
Here are some of the savings generated by recycling the everyday items from your house
Each year kerbside recycling in Victoria:
- saves over 11,000 megalitres of water (enough to fill more than 4,500 Olympic sized swimming pools)
- prevents 386,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere (equivalent to taking more than 64,000 cars off the road for a year)
Steel and aluminium
- Making new products from recycled steel cans helps save up to 75% of the energy and 40% of the water needed to make steel from raw materials. Air pollution is also reduced by almost 90%
- Every tonne of steel recycled saves 1,131kg of iron ore, 633kg of coal and 54kg of limestone
- Aluminium is almost endlessly recyclable
- Making new cans from used aluminium requires only 5% of the energy needed to make a new can from scratch
- By recycling just six aluminium cans you can save enough energy to offset the carbon emissions from a 10km journey in an average-size car, 17km bus ride or 25km train trip
- Glass can be recycled indefinitely
- Glass made from recycled materials requires only 40% of the energy needed to make glass from sand
- Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for four hours, or a fluorescent bulb for 20 hours
- Paper and cardboard products made from recycled material conserves trees, and their production uses up to 50% less energy and 90% less water than making them from raw materials
- Recycling one tonne of paper saves three cubic metres of landfill space
- Producing plastics from recycled materials saves approximately 88% of the energy required to make plastic from the raw materials of oil and gas
- The energy saved by recycling one plastic drink bottle would power a computer for 25 minutes.
Find out more about the recycling process and the products that are made from your kerbside recycling.
Australian Government, 'National Waste Report 2010'
Closed Loop, 'Fun facts and stats'
PACIA 2011, 'About plastics recycling'
Planet Ark, 'Aluminium Can Recycling'
Planet Ark 2010, 'Paper recycling factsheet'
Transpacific Industry Group, 'Glass'
Transpacific Industry Group, 'Plastic'
Transpacific Industry Group, 'Steel'
SITA, 'The facts about glass'
Sustainability Victoria, 'Victorian Local Government Annual Survey 2009-10'