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Britain’s Most Thrown Out Items

Britains most thrown out items

Image by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Britain produces 330 million tonnes of waste a year, only 12% of which is recycled; an astronomically high figure compared to other countries. We live in a rather indulgent society which gives us the luxury of throwing away items that would be necessary for other cultures to keep or reuse.

As Britons earnings have increased we have accumulated a higher disposable income, which has inevitably led to more disposable items. The low proportion of recycling and high amount of litter collected from the streets (30 million tonnes a year) demonstrates Britain’s careless attitude to waste and looking after the planet. Certain items are more disposable than others but all types of waste contribute to Britain’s dire waste situation.

Food Waste

A vast amount of food is wasted in Britain unnecessarily; supermarkets are major offenders but households contribute to the problem with 34.3% of household waste made up of kitchen scraps.

Food can be bought so cheaply that British people don’t think twice about throwing it away; the amount of food wasted could probably solve the global problem of malnourishment, 4.4 tonnes of edible food is thrown away each year in British households alone. Bread is the most wasted food, with fruit and vegetables coming close behind due to their short shelf life.


Although the majority of plastics should be recycled, plastic still makes up 18% of household rubbish. Plastics are used in every aspect of life including drinks bottles, toiletries and packaging for the majority of things we buy which is almost always thrown out.

Most people throw away plastic bags even though they can be reused in the home without the need for recycling! The surplus plastic we use and throw away is reflected in the waste sent to landfill as 75% of plastic waste ends up here.

Paper and Cardboard

Paper is another form of waste that is easily recyclable, however much of the paper and cardboard we use is thrown away as rubbish making up 8% of our household waste.

Often paper used as part of packaging or larger items is not seen as obviously recyclable so is thrown out. Places that use a lot of paper and cardboard, such as offices, will usually aim to recycle but a lot still ends up being wasted and contributing to Britain’s total waste.

Appliance Waste

Throwing out appliances doesn’t present itself as such an obvious problem compared to the other disposable items, however it is not the amount of appliances thrown out but the overall weight that causes an issue. 800,000 tonnes of appliances are thrown out each year, increasing Britain’s rubbish and its impact on the environment.

Due to the busy lifestyle associated with British working life people often give up on appliances that can easily be fixed, disposing of them unnecessarily.

The amount that Britain throws away as rubbish has become a serious problem due to its impending threat on the environment. Not only are British people wasting more than is required due to the luxury lifestyle we are used to, items that can easily be recycled are also wasted simply because of laziness or ignorance.

Schemes are in place to raise awareness of the need to recycle and implement projects that will increase the amount of waste recycled across Britain. As long as more recycling schemes are put in place, Britain will be on the way to reducing waste and the harm it causes.

What items do you throw away that could be easily salvaged and reused or recycled? Comment below!

By Lee Gilbert

Category: Articles, News & Tips

Lee Gilbert
Author By Lee Gilbert
Date On 5th Mar 2014 at 13:19

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