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The top 10 shocking facts about waste

By OVO Energy Wednesday 11 September 2013

‘Waste not, want not.’ Or so the saying goes. The problem is, we’re a nation of wanters, and considering the shocking statistics on our trash tendencies, we’re a nation of wasters, too! Check out these shocking facts on our (literally) rubbish habits.

  1. We bin around 50m tonnes of electrical waste globally every year. That’s nearly 4 million double decker buses worth of old computer equipment, TVs, stereos and kitchen appliances, stretching to the moon more than 3 times over! Learn more about preventing electrical waste here.
     
  2. We throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food every year, and more than half of it’s perfectly edible. Meanwhile, 1 in 7 people across the world don't have enough to eat. Learn how to reduce your food wastage – and save up to £50 a month – here.
     
  3. Between 20% and 40% of fruit and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets before they even hit the shelves. Why? Because they don’t adhere to their cosmetic standards – they’re misshapen, lumpy or just plain weird-looking. But that’s how nature intended, right? Bypass the shops by growing your own.
     
  4. The amount of trash generated by the UK could fill Britain’s largest lake, Lake Windermere, in just 8 months.
     
  5. We used to get through 500 million plastic bags every week in the UK – amounting to billions of bags and thousands of tonnes of plastic. Sadly, each bag will take between 500 and 1,000 years to decompose in landfill. However, since the introduction of the 5p bag, usage has dropped by a staggering 85%. A win for Mother Earth.
     
  6. At Christmas, as much as 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will end up in UK bins when it could have been recycled instead. That’s the same size as Sunderland!
     
  7. The most effective way for individuals to cut emissions, according to new research from Sweden and Canada, is possibly the most controversial: having fewer kids. Studies revealed anyone who decides to have one less child, in a developed country, will spare the planet another 58.6 tonnes worth of CO2!
     
  8. The number of disposable nappies each baby gets through weighs the same as a family car! Find out more about the environmental impact of disposable versus reusable nappies here.
     
  9. Humans now buy a million plastic bottles a minute. Most of this plastic ends up in the ocean. By 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.
     
  10. It’s not just what goes in the bin that counts as waste – water can be wasted, too. A single leaky tap in your house can waste as much as 5,000 litres of water a year. If we all fixed our dripping taps we could supply 120,000 people with a day’s worth of water.