Facts and figures

02 October 2007
Facts and figures

Some telling facts and figures to help you reduce your carbon footprint


  • 350 chemicals are routinely used in conventional farming. Only four are permitted in organic farming.
  • A typical Sunday meal could travel 49,000 miles - equivalent to two journeys around the world and releasing 37kg of carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • For every 1,000 fruit products bought in the UK only six will be grown here.
  • The food system accounts for up to 40% of all UK road freight.
  • Road and air "food miles" generated nearly 18 million tonnes of CO2 in 2004.


Recycling and waste

  • The UK produces 434 million tonnes of waste each year - enough to fill the Albert Hall every two hours.
  • More than half (51%) of renewable energy is generated from waste, generating the equivalent of 726,000 tonnes of oil.
  • Recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy it takes to make new aluminium and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions.
  • If all the aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK were recycled, there would be 14 million fewer full dustbins per year.
  • One recycled plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60W light bulb for six hours.
  • Making new containers from recycled glass saves 315kg of CO2 for every tonne of recycled glass used.
  • Each tonne of paper recycled saves 15 average-sized trees.

Sources: www.recyclenow.comand www.esauk.org


  • London is drier than Istanbul, while the South-east has less water available per person than the Sudan.
  • A leaky tap producing one drip per second wastes about four litres of water a day, and 90 litres if the drips break into a stream.
  • A garden sprinkler uses 1,000 litres of water an hour - twice as much water as an average family of four use in a day.
  • Using a hose to wash your car uses up to 300 litres of water.

Source: www.waterwise.org.ukand www.sepa.org.uk


  • The energy consumed each year by UK commerce and industry releases about 60 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
  • By turning down your thermostat by 1°C or using one hour less heating a day, you could cut your fuel bills by 10%.
  • Cavity wall insulation reduces heat loss through walls by up to 60%, and can save up to 40% on heating bills.
  • Up to 20% of heat lost from a home can be through windows. Double glazing can reduce this loss by up to 50%.
  • Replacing a boiler more than 15 years old, or unreliable, could save 10-15% on fuel bills.
  • Using just one energy-saving light bulb could save you £5 a year.
  • If everyone in the UK boiled only the water they needed to make a cup of tea instead of filling the kettle every time, we could save enough electricity to run practically all the street lighting in the country.

Source: www.sepa.org.uk

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