A drinks can recycling programme for people ‘on the go’, has revealed that in 2011 it collected 51 million used cans that otherwise may not have been recycled. Laid end to end, that’s enough cans to wrap around the earth 1.5 times… But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Although there have been reports of an increase in environmental ‘fatigue’ in the British public, recycling has become commonplace. Figures show that recycling has very much become a habit within the home. A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) report from 2011 revealed that on average, English homes are recycling 41.2% of their waste.
However, some items remain unreported on local authorities’ recycling rates figures because they are used when out and about or at work. Every Can Counts is a programme to help people recycle drinks cans when they are away from home. The 51 million cans it collected in 2011 is equivalent to 774 tonnes of steel or aluminium and makes a saving of around 5,800 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
The programme has also been focusing on recycling drinks cans at outdoor events. Last year Every Can Counts collected one million drinks cans from across 10 music festivals.
Rick Hindley, director of Every Can Counts, said, “The 2011 results confirm that we have established a successful model for encouraging recycling outside the home.
“However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we are constantly on the lookout for new ways to help businesses that want to recycle more, as it’s important to keep testing, refining and innovating.”
Tip of the iceberg is right. Last year, almost 9.5 billion drinks cans were sold in the UK alone. The following infographic created by Blue & Green Tomorrow helps put those cans into perspective. Collecting all the UK’s drinks cans over just 10 seconds would enable you to stack up a construction to match the Eiffel Tower for height, if not stability. The number of cans collected over the course of the year would stretch from the Earth to the moon three times. Sadly, only 52% of cans were recycled in 2011.
At the moment, over 700 UK organisations are registered with the Every Can Counts programme with collection points at 1,900 sites. The Every Can Counts programme has also seen success in France, Austria, Romania and Hungary with plans to hit more European markets in the future.
According to Coca-Cola’s 2010 annual report, 1.6 billion global servings of Coca-Cola are sold per day, globally. Coca-Cola have stepped up to the recycling challenge for the London 2012 Olympics and promised to recycle all clear plastic bottles collected as part of their mission to help create a “sustainable Games”.
It’s important to think about recycling wherever you are, and programmes like Every Can Counts help make that task easier. Forgetting for one moment the sheer waste of valuable resources, cans that we don’t recycle will most likely end up in landfill sites, and as we discussed in our latest in-depth report, we are running out of space fast.
Another way to have an impact on what we do with our waste is to consider a more sustainable option when shopping. We recommend taking a look at the Ethical Superstore.
If you are interested in investing in companies that promote sustainable programs then talk to your IFA. If you don’t have one then fill in our online form, and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.
Infographics: Ben Willers. Picture source: Quinn Dombrowski.