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The data that RecycleWise uses is specified towards the Dutch recycling industry or is generally the same worldwide. A detailed deconstruction of the data is presented below along with the research institute that performed the research. A link can be clicked to see the full report. Of course the data can be seen on the stickers that are present at several locations!

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions – Researched by Tauw, a consultancy agency for environmental advice and sustainable development

To convert the CO2 emissions into something less abstract we calculated the number of kilometers that can be driven with an average car. To calculate this we assume that an average car drives 15 km with 1 liter of petrol. One liter of petrol emits 2392 grams of CO2 hence an average car emits 160 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

In order to calculate the reduction of CO2 emission when recycling plastic one needs to compare the recycling emission with making a new one from virgin material. The amount of CO2 that is emitted in the recycling process has to be subtracted from the amount of CO2 linked to the preparation of plastic from virgin materials. As can be seen in the table below, for each ton of PET plastic 2150 kg of CO2 is released. Furthermore, it is stated in the report that 39.8 kt CO2 is emitted during the recycling process delivering 95.3-ton reusable plastic, which means that 417.6 kg CO2 equivalents are emitted for each ton plastic produced by recycling. Taking into account that 1 plastic bottle weighs about 10 gram, this means that you can drive 1 km by car when you recycle 10 bottles instead of making them from scratch!


Link for more information:

Oil usage – Researched by the association of plastics manufacturers: Plastic Europe

As shown in the table below 0,75 kg oil is used to produce 1 kg of PET. 0.75 kg oil is equivalent to 0.85-liter oil. Taken into account that one bottle weights about 10 grams, 8.5 mL of oil is used in order to produce one plastic bottle.

Link for more information:

Electricity usage – Researched by Franklin Associates, a division of ERG

As can be seen in the graph below, it takes about 32 million Btu per 1000 pounds resin to produce virgin plastics, while it costs only 5 million Btu per 1000 pounds resin to reuse recycled plastic thereby saving 27 million Btu per 1000 pounds resin. This 27 million Btu per 1000 pounds resin is equivalent to a reduction of 0.17445 kWh for each plastic bottle that is produced from recycled plastic instead of virgin materials.

When you take an average phone with a battery of about 3000 mAh this means that you can charge your phone for 15 days with the energy that you save when a bottle is made from recycled plastic compared to virgin materials.

Furthermore, a 6 Watt LED uses 8.5 kWh for 1460 hours of light. This can be converted into 30 saved hours of light when a bottle is made from recycled plastic compared to virgin materials.

Link for more information:

Efficient space usage – Researched by RecycleWise 🙂

The garbage bag is approximately 80 liters and it has been calculated that regular cups such as disposable coffee cups have a volume of 0.2 liters. Worst case scenario, (80/0.2) 400 coffee cups will fit in the bin. Now imagine that all the coffee cups will perfectly fit in each other. In case of a cup with a diameter of 7.3 cm, length of 9.9 cm and thickness of 0.2 cm and thus a volume of 53.78 mL, 1488 cups will fit in the 80-liters garbage bag.

Hence, separately collecting the cups can be 3.7x more efficient!

Link for more information: