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Not enough holes

In 2003-2004, 72% of municipal waste in England ended up in landfill sites.

Garbage and rubbish

The UK produces more than 434 million tonnes of waste every year. This rate of rubbish generation would fill the Albert Hall in London every 2 hours.

Every year UK households throw away the equivalent of 3.5 million double-decker buses (almost 30 million tonnes), a queue of which would stretch from London to Sydney (Australia) and back.

On average, each person in the UK throws away seven times their body weight (about 500kg) in rubbish every year.

That is like throwing away their own body weight in rubbish every 7 weeks.

Each UK household produces about 1 tonne of rubbish a year.

The average dustbin contains enough unrealised energy per year for 500 hot baths, 3500 showers or 5,000 hours of television.

The cost of managing the municipal waste in England is around £1.6 billion per year.

Landfill sites

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 12% of global methane emissions come from landfill sites as organic waste degrades. There are over 1000 projects worldwide extracting this gas for industrial use.

Mobile phones (see pic)

500 million mobiles are thrown away in Europe every year. In the UK alone 11.3 million phones a year - creating an estimated 1,500 tons of landfill.

Each mobile phone battery has enough cadmium to pollute 600,000 litres of water, the equivalent of a third of an Olympic swimming pool.

11.3 million mobiles (only UK's waste) contain enough cadmium to pollute 21,300 rivers the size of the Thames!


A tonne of scrap from old computers contains more gold than can be produced from 17 tonnes of gold ore.


On average, every family in the UK consumes around 330 glass bottles and jars a year.

It is not known how long glass takes to break down but it is so long that glass made in the Middle East over 3000 years ago can still be found today.

Recycling two bottles saves enough energy to boil water for five cups of tea.


Every year, an estimated 17½ billion plastic bags are given away by supermarkets. This is equivalent to over 290 bags for every person in the UK.

We produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago!

Plastics are a major contributor to landfills accounting for up to 25% of waste.


1 litre of oil can pollute 1 million litres of fresh drinking water (Scottish Oil Care Campaign).

Waste oil from nearly 3 million car oil changes in Britain is not collected. If collected properly, this could meet the annual energy needs of 1.5 million people. (Scottish Oil Care Campaign)


About a fifth of contents of household dustbins is paper and card. Half is newspapers and magazines. This is equivalent to over 4 kg of waste paper per household in the UK every week.


In 2001 UK households produced the equivalent weight of 245 jumbo jets per week in packaging waste.

Every year each person produces 4 times as much packaging waste as their luggage allowance on a jumbo jet.


Babies' nappies make up about 2% of the average household rubbish.

This is equivalent to the weight of nearly 70,000 double decker buses every year. If lined up front to end, the buses would stretch from London to Edinburgh.