This content was archived on 18 Mar 2015.

Facts and figures

  • WRAP estimates that around 600 million tonnes of products and materials enter the UK economy each year… only 115 million tonnes of this gets recycled.
  • Between now and the end of 2020, WRAP estimates that electronic products purchased in the UK will total around 10 million tonnes. A quarter of this will comprise of IT equipment, consumer electronics and display screens. This 10 million tonnes will include precious metals, such as 20 tonnes of gold, 400 tonnes of silver and 7 tonnes of Platinum Group Metals. These have a total estimated market value of £1.5 billion [Dec 13].
  • Nearly 25% of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) that’s taken to household waste recycling centres could be re-used, worth around £200m gross a year.
  • We throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year from our homes - most of which could have been safely consumed.
  • UK hospitality sector (hotels, pubs, restaurants and quick service restaurants) could save £724 million a year by tackling food waste.
  • By pursuing opportunties for re-use, the UK could reduce its reliance on raw materials, including rare earths, by as much as 20% by 2020.
  • Our research shows doubling the number of sofas re-used, could save 52,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.  At the moment, 83% of sofas are not re-used and are sent to landfill or recycled.

And this is only the tip of the waste iceberg.