According to United
States Environmental Protection Agency, it is estimated that 75% of the
American waste stream is recyclable, but only about 30% of it has been recycled.
The problem of waste management is increasing day by day as the report shows
that the average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about
1.5 tons of solid waste per year (EPA).
Lakpa Dolma Lama
Recycling is the key initiatives to
reduce waste materials and the process of reusing items that would otherwise be
discarded as waste. In other words, it is the practice of turning waste
material into usable material to divert trash from landfills, which brings many
advantages and benefits to different areas. According to the US Environmental
Protection Agency, “Recycling is the process of re-using a given product or
producing a new product from a recyclable material turns
that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources.” (EPA).
To make the environment clean, green and healthy, we need to start recycling waste
materials such as plastic bottles, papers, glasses, aluminum tins, and much
more. Recycling is the only way that can save our environment from being deteriorate
so, it has become very important now days and for our future lives because it
saves energy, reduces landfill, protects wildlife, and is also good for the
economy. For the protection of the environment, we need to make everyone aware
about the importance of recycling and make them understand its importance to
make this program successful for the betterment of their lives.
Some poor countries are facing the
large problem of unhealthy environment which has affected their health and not
only the poor countries but everyone on earth has suffered due to the massive
production of waste. There is a large problem with trash build up on our Earth
which has covered almost half percent of the landfills. Because
of the unorganized waste management, it has affected public health by creating
environment pollution and threatens to drown some poor countries in toxicity. Most
of the non-recycled materials go into landfills or be dumped into the ocean
which pollute water and leak methane gas into the atmosphere which not only
affects the human being but also the whole eco system. Similarly, as the paper
we used are not recycled, it causes deforestation because more trees will be
cut down, reducing the world’s oxygen, increasing the carbon dioxide and causes
We will also have to face the problem
of electricity, if we do not recycle aluminum cans because lots of the world’s
energy will be used to make aluminum from scratch. Likewise, we are also going
to run out of space to hide all the trashes, if we don’t recycle the things
that can be recycled such as glasses and trash bags, which we can easily re-use
than manufacture. The major problem of throwing trash bags is that when the
trash bags are dumped into the water, which are mistaken by sea turtles for
jellyfish, and we end up killing them. Another major problem that affects the
earth’s climate system is Global warming which releases carbon dioxide into the
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere using energy generated from burning fossil
fuels and causes air pollution, destruction of forest and emergence of new
illnesses and deaths.
We can see in the above statistics
presented by the World Bank report on 2011 that many develop countries
generating the most waste. Though being
the most developed countries, we can see in the figure that, The United States,
China, Brazil, Japan and Germany are the leading trash generators. Being one of
the developed country, U.S. produced the most waste about 624,700 metrics of
waste per day in 2011. Similarly, another most develop country, China which has
population around four times larger than that of the U.S. is close behind, with
520,548 metrics of waste per day. “The more urbanized and industrialized a
country becomes, the more trash it produces,” said Ijjasz-Vasquez, a senior
director for the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global
Practice as cited in (Simmons).
Because of the population growth, urbanization and rising consumption, The
United Nations Environment Program predicts that the amount of waste will
probably double in lower-income African and Asian cities. (EPA).
Reasons for Recycling:
In today’s world, Recycling has
become important because it is good for all the human beings, environment and
eco-system. Since we are making new products from the old products, which are
of no use to us, we need to continue doing it and make other people aware too,
so we can save the environment together. There are many reasons to recycle and
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enumerated some benefits
associated with recycling.
Recycling save resources by converting the
waste materials into the usable materials which reduces the need to consume
natural resources and helps to helps conserve important raw materials and also
protects natural habitats for the future.
Recycling saves energy by converting the
use of more energy that is required in the manufacturing process into less
energy by producing new products from raw materials that are ready for
Recycling helps protect the environment by
reducing the pollution created by waste materials such as air pollution and
water pollution. It helps to prevent deforestation which protects habitat
destruction and global warming.
Recycling reduces incineration by
reprocessing recyclable materials which needs extracting, refining and processing
raw materials and saves the energy needed for the further process.
can do recycling easily starting from their home and practicing the concept of
recycling will benefit us in our everyday life.
Waste Reduction: Stop Throwing Things Out:
The first thing to keep in mind is that we need to stop throwing things outside
which can be recycled. Every state and local authority has been suffering from
the problem of ineffective waste disposal system so, there every state should adopted
regulatory strategies to discourage dependence on landfills. For example,
California enacted a law that established a baseline for solid waste its cities
and towns send to landfills in 1990. By 1995, that amount reduced by 25
percent; and by the year 2000, it reduced to 50 percent. Therefore, California
now diverts more than 25 percent of its waste, resulting in disposal of
approximately 33 million tons per year. (Knudson) .
There should be an effective waste
disposal and management system which can offer improved solutions for the
various problems associated with waste materials in the community. It helps to encourage
higher environmental protection by implementing he strategy that looks after
the landfills are purposefully located to ease waste collection, transfer, and
monitoring or recycling.
There should be waste diversion plans that
every local authorities and state should implement which makes certain that
there is convenient and proper waste disposal at landfills and waste transfer
facilities by mandating equipment standards which can enhance the environmental
performance of waste disposal operations (Gorrie).
The policy for Recycle, Re-use, and reduce
should be implemented which recycles electronic wastes, plastics, paper, metal,
glass and other non-biodegradable materials providing an effective means of
reducing the landfill effects. After recycling those materials, it reduces the
high demand for manufactured products and helps to embrace re-use that can
equally favor reduction to both the toxicity and volume of waste that end up in
the landfill as waste (Flavell-While).
Although recycling is the key
initiative to control waste materials, it might cost more while processing the
raw materials into new products so, it is not always cost-effective. It
requires a lot of capital to buy different kinds of utility vehicles, upgrade
the recycling unit, waste, and chemical disposal and to conduct awareness
programs for the locals to initiate recycling. It costs $28 per ton to landfill
waste compared with $147 a ton to recycle says the author Harvey Black of the
Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, in San Jose, California (Harvey).
Similarly, due to lots of waste
materials it is Recycling sites are unhygienic, unsafe and unsightly. The waste
materials produce harmful which can be dangerous and also causes massive
pollution. The people working on recycling sites have to take a major health
risk because if they come into the contact of harmful chemicals, they might
lose their life. Harmful chemicals from waste material not only affects the
human beings but also the environment and animals which are living in the
earth. For example, if waste products that we throw come into contact with
water, it results in the formation of leachate that ends up polluting water
bodies, not to mention drinking water which caused fever, stomach pain,
typhoid, diarrhea and Jaundice.
According to Mary Bauer, a senior
executive currently working as a management consultant and communications
expert says, recycling saves energy, reduces pollution, preserves trees and
conserves landfill space, but it is a messy process that uses caustic chemicals
and produces harmful byproducts and emissions. (Mary).
After knowing these disadvantages of
recycling, an individual need to take wise decision and take significant steps
involved in recycling process. If the effects of recycling are carried out
effectively it can benefit every human being from protecting environment.
Though there are some disadvantages of recycling, it’s benefits outweigh the
risks related with the mismanagement of dump sites because it is for the good
cause and helps everyone to understand the importance of healthy environment. Similarly,
the government is also implementing effective waste management to preserve and
protect our planet so everyone of us should take the initiative to recycle
waste material starting from our home.