Recycling (1137 words) Essay

In the United Sates, where the population is inflated every year. The amount of
space for landfills decreases every day. The need for recycling should not be
asked, it should just be done out of habit. Everyone in America needs to
recycle, to help the lamdfill problem, help the environment, and help produce
new products from recycled goods. In America there is about two-hundred and
eight tons of residential and commercial trash generated a year, 4.3 pounds per
person a day (Prichard 1A). This is an overwhelming amount of trashed produced
yearly. When people recycle this number can be drastically cut. But many people
do not practice and use recycling. Consumers and businesses should use the three
R’s; recycle, reuse, and recharge (Prichard 1A). Consumers and businesses are
producing more garbage than ever before. As a result, we are rapidly running out
of landfill space. In 1979 America had close to 18,500 landfills, and by 1991
that number was nearly cut in half (Prichard 10A). Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota,
and Illinois will reach their maximum limit on landfills by the year 2005
(Prichard 10A). This whole garbage problem has forced us to try other options.

Many of these options have been very unsuccessful. People have tried burning
their garbage, that cause pollution to the environment. Some states even
resorted to dropping their trash in the ocean, only to have the very same trash
float ashore later. Dumping it on other states leads to feuding neighbors.

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Indiana passed a law to block imports of out-of-state trash, but a federal court
ruled the law illegal (Prichard 10A). Instead of trying to find new ways to dump
our trash, we need to find better ways to recycle it and save space in our
landfills. In the 1970s there was a push to use recycled paper. A worker at a
paper factory in Illinois states, “Then the issue was saving a tree. But trees
are replaced. We plant them, we cut them, we plant them again” (Pendleton).

The worker also said, “The problem now is the landfill situation, I think this
one is going to stick” (Pendleton). By 1991 thirty-nine states and hundreds of
local governments have passed laws or solutions requiring the purchase of
recycled paper. According to Henry Miller, vice president of a paper mill said,
“By volume, thirty-eight percent of solid waste in a landfill is paper and
cardboard” (Pendleton). That paper and cardboard, if recycled could have
produced that much paper or other products and it would have cleared up
thirty-eight percent of many landfills across America. One major way to get
people involved with recycling is the environment perspective. Not only would
the landfills be cut down the environment gains a lot by having people recycle.

So what do the states do to keep the environment clean? They enact laws against
litter and waste. One way is the state requiring the deposit on beer and
soft-drink bottles and cans (Prichard 8A). In those states, millions of bottles
and cans that once were left on beaches, tossed in rivers and parks or thrown
along the highways are being taken back to stores instead for a refund. A
twenty-year old student from Michigan said, “Throwing away cans is like
throwing away money to me” (Prichard 8A). These state laws must be working if
people have this attitude towards recycling cans and bottles. States with
deposit laws have found that providing consumers with an incentive to return
bottles and cans is one of the simplest, least expensive ways to clean up litter
and reduce trash going into costly landfills (Prichard 8A). Researchers have
found this way of reducing landfills and encouraging recycling very worth while.

In New York that passed a refund law, mainly due to all the liter and trash
people throw in the city’s parks and streets. The amount of trash going into
landfills from the city of New York City alone reduced by 550 tons per day
(Prichard 8A). That is a lot of recycled cans and bottles that did not have to
see the landfill. The same law was placed in Vermont and Connecticut. These two
states also showed amazing results. The litter in Vermont was reduced by
thirty-five percent and in Connecticut the litter in parks was reduced by fifty
percent (Prichard 8A). Laws on beverage containers alone will not solve our
trash problems. We need recycling programs for old batteries, used motor oil,
paper, plastics, metals, and glass. According to environmental groups and
government agencies, if bottle laws were in effect in all states: litter could
be reduced to thirty-five percent, energy savings in one year could equal the
electricity used by a city the size of Milwaukee for four years, and taxpayers
could save thirty million dollars a year (Prichard 8A). It is a fact, bottle
laws work. Just go to a state without a bottle law and then go to one with a
law, the difference is amazing. In a survey by USA TODAY, most consumers in
those states say they do not mind carting cans and bottles back to the stores in
return for cleaner roads and parks (Prichard 8A). Recycling helps reduce
landfills, clean up the environment, and it also takes those recycled goods to
produce new products. Plastic, the one time enemy of many environmental groups,
because of its long lasting, non-biodegradable nature, may actually be a friend
after all (Lipkin 49). Plastic companies are now trying to devise new uses for
old plastics and developing biodegradable ones. Plastic containers like milk
jugs and soda bottles, are being reprocesses and added to fiberfill linings in
ski jackets, pillows, sleeping bags, and even automobile seats (Lipkin 49).

Another company trying to make a difference is the Hammer’s Plastic Recycling
Corporation of Iowa Falls, Iowa. They are recycling hard plastics into new
products such as boat piers, park benches, pipe racks, wheel chocks, and even
speed bumps for parking lots. There is an example of what recycling can do
behind the high school in Iowa Falls. There is a bench recycled out of old
plastics. It is quite exciting knowing that you are sitting on recycled milk
jugs. Recycling is a very important resource for us. Recycling can save us all a
lot of money if we just do some simple little things. Like taking back pop cans
whenever we can, that will just keep those cans out of our rivers and parks.

Everyone should get involved with a local recycling program of some sorts. Every
city has recycling bins for newspapers, paper, cans, bottles, plastics, almost
everything there is. When people get involved, the landfills, and the
environment will all be greatly inproved. So take the time to recycle and
America will truly be a beautiful place to live.

Hall, Cindy. “Trash and Back.” USA Today 14 November 1997: 1A. Lipkin,
Richard. “Recycling, King of the Trash Heap.” New Tech 26 February 1990:
48-49. Pendleton, Scott. “Sellers Tickled by Demand for Recycled Paper.” The
Christian Science Monitor 26 August 1997. Prichard, Peter. “Bottle-Deposit
Laws Fight Litter and Waste.” USA Today 29 April 1990: 8A. Prichard, Peter.

“Trash Glut Demands Recycling Solution.” USA Today 19 February 1994: 10A.


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