Recycling: From the Old Comes the New

Contributing to a sustainable world is also the reuse of products. An infographic shows how the recycling of paper and plastics works.

The recycling of products such as plastic or paper saves resources. Photo: iStock-photka

The recycling of plastic or paper saves resources. Photo: iStock-photka

Plastic packaging, newsprint, glass . . . According to Eurostat, each inhabitant of the European Union produced around 489 kilograms of municipal waste in 2018. For a family of four, that would be just under two tons of garbage per year. However, according to the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU), municipal waste is not only waste from private households. It also includes waste from comparable facilities as well as waste similar to household waste from trade and industry, for example waste from administrative buildings, medical practices, schools and kindergartens.

Recycling saves resources

Many of these wastes are recyclable, including paper and plastic. Figures from the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) show that the environment benefits from recycling these products: just one tonne of recycled waste paper saves around 4,000 kWh of energy, 270 litres of oil and 3.5 cubic metres of landfill space. It also means that you need 31 fewer trees for the production of new recycled paper. One tonne of recycled plastic reduces energy consumption by 5,774 kWh, saves 2,604 litres of oil, 26,000 litres of water and 22 cubic metres of landfill space.

The infographic shows how exactly recycling of paper and plastic works and provides interesting figures on recycling in Europe, Australia and the USA.

Click here for the infographic in PDF format.

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