Recycling 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 Rs; 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. 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 citys 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 Hammers 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.
Bibliography 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.