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A Wasteful Society: Why Recycling Should be Mandatory

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Recycling is defined as “the process of making or manufacturing new products from a product that has originally served its purpose”. This simply means reusing old things and making them in to new ones. It is a process that has been done for centuries, longer than most would believe. Recycling goes back as far as historic times, 400BC and earlier than that. Though it was not uncommon for homes to recycle and reuse items it didn’t really become such a necessity until the beginning of World War II .

This was because during the war supplies and money was in very short supply. Everything that was being produced or paid for went to help the war effort, so citizens back home had to learn to reuse and make do with the resources they had. Even the soldiers at war had to learn to recycle because resources were so scarce. Along with the patriotism of the United States, a sort of “…general patriotism in recycling…” was born all around the country .

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As expected as times have changed thoughts and influences of recycling have too. Recycling now is more of a choice than a necessity. Society is now more focused on creating new things rather than reusing the old. But despite this there has been a 100% increase in the past decade . But there is still work to be done.

Recycling is an activity that is worth taking the time to do. It saves the forest and reduces the amount of trash in landfills around the world. It also helps to “…reduce the harmful waste we discard into the environment” . All and all it helps everyone everywhere for the better. The traditional way of disposing trash takes up a lot of space and resources that many communities do not have. Recycling is a way to capitalize on the limited resources they do have and making the best of them. Larger “cities…states in the US like Pittsburg, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, San Francisco, Gainesville, Florida, and Honolulu…have encountered certain difficulties and constraints in land fillings and disposing waste.”, so they constituted their own laws and regulations. These laws establish different programs that provide citizens with or require them to separate through trash and put recyclable materials, such as glass, plastic and paper, into separate bins. These materials are then later brought to recycling center and reused rather than left in landfills . These efforts have been working very well in the cities that have adopted them. Despite disbelief the laws and regulations set up by these areas are not impossible or unreasonable to follow, and there are citizens that do follow them.

A prime example of would be in the city of Seattle, Washington. They developed a mandatory recycling program back in 2006. After a few months of operation Brett Stav, a senior planning and development specialist at Seattle Public Utilities, was interviewed about results from the program. He elaborated on what the program ordinance required. Stav stated that “Starting Jan. 1, recyclables are basically prohibited from Seattle’s household, apartment and business garbage… For households and apartments, all basic recyclables — paper cardboard, aluminum, glass, plastic — are prohibited. For businesses, if we find more than 10 percent of the garbage container is filled with things like paper or cardboard, we’ll leave a tag.”. During the interview Stav was also asked about how the fines were being given out and determined, he commented that “When there are more than the specified amount of recyclables in their garbage cans there is a tag left on the can, for residences there is no fine but for business and apartments they will leave tags and on the third tag they leave a $50 fine. But so far there had not been anyone who had gotten past the second tag”. Another would be in Pennsylvania, where in 1988 the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act (Act 101) was put into effect. This law put a ban on disposing leaves at incinerators and different landfills. Results from the study of the law have shown that there has been considerable change in the way that they are being disposed of . There are many benefits that come with the creation of mandatory recycling laws and regulations. One would be the savings that it would cause in communities. The money that would be needed to dispose and manage landfills can go toward other important issues the area might have.

This is because recycling programs are incredibly cost efficient compared to traditional trash disposal by $20-$50. Mandatory recycling also helps to clear up space taken by landfills and gets rid of the work of land filling itself and “prevents green house gas emissions”. Not only does it benefit the environment and community it also has a great effect on the lives on the people in it. The recycling centers provide more job opportunities in the area. “People following mandatory recycling programs are less susceptible to diseases caused by unclean environment”. Although there are tons of benefits to mandatory recycling, like any other solution there are also disadvantages.

One major one is the fact that cities that do have the recycling laws do not take the time to properly inform all citizens to which it applies about the obligations of the program, leaving citizen to pay fines and penalties they were not aware of. There is also the fact that where the law applies people have to pay additional taxes to fund these programs. And the recycling centers are more expensive than just disposing garbage into landfills, they are only really cost efficient in the long run, and that fact does not interest many citizens. In addition, despite the fact that there are many more cities and states that are establishing laws there are not everywhere in the Unites States. Some states only have laws that apply to business and others only to residential areas; there is no really uniformity . Lastly there is the fact that the thought of mandatory recycling does scare some people. The way that they would be forced to recycle and some see it as an invasion of privacy and rights. But despite the disadvantages and negative opinions about recycling, the good still outweighs the bad because it would do so much more help to communities later than harm to them now. Mandatory recycling is a choice and lifestyle that will change the way communities and cities around the world operate. Regardless of all the disadvantages and doubts that may occur, the benefits will always outweigh the disadvantages.

Cite this A Wasteful Society: Why Recycling Should be Mandatory

A Wasteful Society: Why Recycling Should be Mandatory. (2017, Apr 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-wasteful-society-why-recycling-should-be-mandatory/

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