Recycling by the numbers

The New Ecologist proposes a series of interesting figures on recycling. Here are some of them : The recycling industry is worth $160 billion and employs globally 15 million people.

Recycling aluminium needs only five percent of the energy needed to mine and refine the same quantity of new aluminium. The top 5 recycling countries are Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

20 million tons of electric waste are thrown away each year. One ton of scrap from discared computers contains more gold than can be produced from 17 tons of gold ore.

I guess that similar amounts can be found for other rare earths and metals…

Each time a ton of glass is reused to create new glass products 315 kilograms of CO2 emissions are saved.

For more figures, please check out the original chart on Flickr.


Edouard is a sustainability and energy professional committed to bringing our societies to a carbon neutral future. He has been writing on related topics on this very blog since 2007.

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