Up to half of all waste comes from households, which means if we can cut down on waste in our homes, we can have a big impact on a global scale.
Depending on where and how you live, paper, plastic, glass, and metal make up the larger part of your waste - all materials you can reuse or recycle. If we all recycle at home, we could save up to 6 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2050. Single use plastic is a big part of the problem, but there are many times that it’s easy enough to avoid.
Take this step to reduce the amount you buy and throw away, and recycle what is left. You’ll help harmful waste out of nature and cut carbon emissions too.
Globally, on average, people could potentially be ingesting up to 5 g of microplastics per week.
The ensuing rapid growth in plastics production is extraordinary, surpassing most other man-made materials [...] plastics’ largest market is packaging, an application whose growth was accelerated by a global shift from reusable to single-use containers.
Waste production multiplied tenfold over the last century and will likely double again by 2025. Half or less of that waste is generated at the household level. Household recycling could avoid 5.5–6.0 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
Impact metric calculations
To determine the carbon emission reduction estimates related to reducing plastic waste and increasing recycling, the following calculation was performed:
Plastic Waste: (total per person per month plastic waste in kg) x (100% - action-dependent reduction percentage %) x (44% of plastic is recyclable) x (1.14 kg CO2e/kg in net plastic emissions reductions from recycling)
Recycling: (total per person per month metal waste in kg) x (10.06 kg CO2e/kg net aluminum emissions reductions from recycling) + (total per person per month glass waste in kg) x (0.31 kg CO2e/kg net glass emissions reductions from recycling) + (total per person per month paper waste in kg) x (3.91 kg CO2e/kg net paper emissions reductions from recycling)
Total: Plastic Waste + Recycling = kg CO2e/month
For detailed calculations, references and assumptions, please see our Methodology.