the right way to recycle AND ITS BENEFITS
Today's millennials are working hard to make a better planet. They are worried about the planet damages and they have been designing campaigns against environmental issues. One good campaign was "Skip the straw" promoted in 2014 by Ocean Conservancy. They used a cruel video of a sea turtle with straw up its nostril. This video caused an impact in our society and the movement against the use of plastic straw became global. Now, plastic straws are replaced by paper and aluminum materials. Recycling is important to the world if we are interested to leave this planet for our future generation and it should be supporting by our communities and us. Now we just need to know the right way to recycle and the benefit causes about this process.
America assumes that recycling is a product of an environmental movement in the 1970's, the decade where they celebrated the first Earth Day and the start of the Environmental Protection Agency. Although, recycling had more fame during those days, recycling was working better before the 1970's that it does today. People believe that recycling have been doing that for millennia but America had a recycling system before the colonial era. For example, a peddler sold manufactured things and at the same time they purchased recycling materials from the shelters they visited. Also, they used old rags to make paper, and beef bones to make fertilizer. American women, during the colonial era, would buy a beautiful dress from Paris an if they did not want the dress anymore, they would turn it back in and the dress would get alterations to be sold again. A 1919 survey in Chicago estimated there were more than 1,800 individual scrap material dealers. During the Great Depression between the 1929 and 1939 decade, people continued reusing things. For example, they used biscuits as lunch containers and they made clothing with unused flour sacks. During World War II, American got fame for collecting paper, scrap metal and cooking waste. This campaign was with the purpose to support the school of children during the war. Even when recycling was not invented during 1960's and 1970's decades, recycling got more attention due to deal with the massive amounts of waste produced. After World War II, the economy grew and people started to use cans, bottles and other use products and it generated tons of trash around the city. There was a national initiative called American Recycling Day that promoted collection programs and volunteering to pick up the trash. Those programs started in the Pacific Northwest in the early of 1970's. There was a French advertisement that said, "People start pollution. People can stop it". this quote marked the history of recycling. This advertisement is still applicable to the current population.
According to the EPA, in 2013, America generated about 254 million tons of trash, where 87 millions of tons of this material was recycling. The rest of waste are burned for energy and sent to landfills. There are around 2,000 landfills in the Unite states that keep this trash are reaching their capacity, according by (SWEEP). Through the years tons of trash continue to pile up potentially creating an environmental disaster. The Northeast states is the most affecting area of the United States, they a rapidly increase landfill piles-ups compared with Western states. In 2018, China send us a communicate that prohibited import some kinds of low grade plastics between other materials that are very difficult to recycle. The Unite State are struggle to find a way to send this waste while it is creating a huge landfill pile-ups in different cities. Such as New York that is ship a lot of amount of waste to other places because they do not have enough space in the city. Arizona state is struggling with selling its recycling materials too and sometime forced to send it to landfill. Such as City of Flagstaff that are not available of a good waste manage due his locality that are on the top of the mountains and it forced to the city send recycling material to the landfills. Mostly and any materials that are not bottles or jars are not allowed to recycling anymore because those materials need to be recycled by other companies. Flagstaff is not the only city that struggles with this situation, there are many other cities that have the same problem. The number of contaminated waste is increasing and there are tons of recycling materials that cannot be recycled. Such as pizza boxes, jars with leftover food, also materials that cannot be recycling as plastic bags and dirty diapers. There was a recently case of a worker in Surprise, Arizona that found a huge python in the line of the machinery. For these reasons China took the decision of not buying recycling material anymore is because the American through away contaminated material into the recycling bin. If they find a least two plastic bags in a pile of cardboard, they can reject the recycling because the material is contaminated. Even though Phoenix is a big city that has two advanced processing plants, one of the biggest in the country. And they are actualized about the standard that China imposes now.
Approximately 6,300 million metric tons of plastic waste has been generated since the creation of plastics in the 1950's. Only 9% of this plastic are recycling and the rest of the waste are burning, landfill or throw away in the natural resources. This is a terrible punishment for the ocean, around 150 million metric tons of plastic waste are contaminated ocean and eight million metric tons flowing into the deep from land each year. Ocean trash prohibits the sea animals like a seabird, seal, and sea turtle to not have the ability to identify real food or trash. Plastic bags and balloons are the favorite food for turtles and seals. These objects cause damage in their internal systems and these objects can be stuck around animals. There are more objects like a bottle, or straws that can cause damage too. In the 2050 estimate that 99% of all seabirds will be eating plastic and 95% would be victims of any disease caused by eating plastic. Also abandoned fishing equipment such as post, nest and lines could be a dangerous for sea animals. Scientists fond a whale with 440 pound of fishing equipment into the stomach of the whale.
The wasting of resources is also a big effect on the negative consequences of what is going on our planet.
Seabirds, including gulls, are notoriously known to eat anything they come across, even your sandwich on the beach! These days it is a seemingly destructive characteristic to have because a portion of what they are eating is plastic. The plastic sits in their stomachs and can eventually lead to death. It is estimated that by 2050, 99% of all species of seabirds will be eating plastic and 95% of all individual seabirds will fall victim to the harmful effects of consuming plastic. The predicted percentage of species that will consume plastic is up from the 65% that eat plastic today which is a jump from the historical average of 26%. Also, not safe from ocean plastics are juvenile sea turtles, as just .5 of a gram, one one-thousandth of a pound, of ingested plastic can kill them. (White)
These statistics should be startling to all of our population as we see the negative effect that single use plastics has on our society. The fact that we are offered a plastic straw as a default when ordering a drink is a common-sense change that could have huge positive effects on our behavior. Instead of offering a straw, customers should grow accustomed to drinking from a glass or cup and have a straw offered only as a secondary choice. This would greatly reduce the culture of using straws when ordering a beverage.
Recycling greatly reduces landfill waste by allowing resources to be reused. In our society, there has been an improvement in recycling plastics, but the greatest weakness is single-use plastics. As mentioned previously, we have a culture that uses plastic to sell individual products as well as to cover sanitation laws. This culture needs to change, because it is not sustainable. For example, there should not be social media posts showing bananas covered in plastic being sold in stores. Bananas have a natural encasing that should not have to be replaced with a polluted plastic.
A decisive step in making recycling more accessible would be to follow the lead of other states, such as California. Here, the public is rewarded for caring for their waste and they receive a monetary compensation for following civic laws. While on paper it sounds like a common-sense law to abide by, many people feel that it offers an inexpensive way to dispose of companies' trash. When analyzing the data, it is more than evident that recycling is something that the public wants to engage in, specifically when given compensation.
Recycling steps start with the collection and processing of materials. Many people do not realize, but aluminum cans can be reused and recycled an unlimited amount of times. Cans that are thrown in the garbage will take at least 500 years to start decomposing, but if recycled can be reused in less than two months. Additionally, many products that are recycled help lower green gas emissions. It is a sustainable model to set up a plan to recycle products and set a tone to help in reducing waste on our planet. I believe more companies should follow the queue of Burger King, which will be outlawing their plastic toys for next year. This makes great sense for not only the company, but for society. The company is afforded the opportunity to cut on costs in providing a cheap plastic product while maintaining a positive image and saving money by not selling the plastic toys. Lastly, companies such as 'Green Toys' create products that utilize recycled products which are then sold as toys for children.
There are two green jobs that are increasing employment and are projected to continue their increase through the next decade. They are in the solar panel field and wind turbine engineer fields. It seems like a no brainer, especially with the increase in solar related energy consumption, that renewable solar energy would be leading the charge. It is the duty of our government to create accessible programs to utilize this renewable resource during a longer period of time. A single plastic bottle can take around 450 years to decompose and Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. This is not a sustainable model to continue using. It is vital that as a society we embrace changes and start to implement them in our social lives.
A culture change in the western culture needs to occur in our use of plastic and paper.
Every year, Britain sends China enough recyclables to fill up 10,000 Olympic-size swimming pools, according to Greenpeace U.K. The United States exports more than 13.2 million tons of scrap paper and 1.42 million tons of scrap plastics annually to China, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has reported. That is the sixth-largest American export to China. (Ives) This model is not sustainable as our resources continue to get depleted. China also is making things more difficult for imported recycles to be processed.
It is more than evident that recycling reduces the carbon footprint of those in our society that engage in the activity. It is said through different figures in our country that doing a little bit of extra work in educating and practicing green practices could have a profound permanent effect in our society. While unpopular at first, laws that encourage people to carry reusable bags are much needed. This sets the precedent to be more conscious in how we all behave in public.
Within months, Malaysia, which has a sizable ethnic Chinese population, had replaced China as the world's larger importer of scrap metal. But this country, and others across the region, soon saw the waste as an environmental nightmare, and a heavy backlash has begun. With public support, some advocacy groups have urged officials to permanently ban the import of plastic waste.
It is not too late to change our habits in recycling, but it will challenge all of us in making significant changes. We need to change the way we shop and use reusable bags. We need to change the way we eat, and not use single use plastics. Lastly, we need to change the way we live by being more attentive to the world of trash vs recyclables that is around us. Let us change the way we live our lives and respect our planet.
"The US Is Rapidly Running Out of Landfill Space." Global Citizen
"Is Recycling Broken? Yes." Ocean Conservancy, 7 June 2019
Janetsky, Megan. "Arizona Cities Are Actually Trashing Things You Think You're Recycling." Azcentral, Arizona Republic, 5 July 2018,
"The Impact of Ocean Trash." Ocean Conservancy, 18 Sept. 2018
"40 Interesting Facts About Recycling." Conserve Energy Future, 3 Jan. 2017
Harvey, Fiona. "Burger King Is Giving up on Free Plastic Toys for Kids - When Will Others Follow?" The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 19 Sept. 2019
"Green Growth: Employment Projections in Environmentally Focused Occupations : Career Outlook." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Ives, Mike. "Recyclers Cringe as Southeast Asia Says It's Sick of the West's Trash." The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 June 2019