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Transcript of RECYCLING
The world wastes far more trash than we recycle.
Recycling Plant conditions outside of the U.S. are terrible.
By not recycling we are damaging the environment.
President's Letter/The Solution
Waste V.S. Recycling
In the US alone each person produces, on average, 4.4 pounds of waste per day, but only 1.5 pounds of that ends up getting recycled. Even more concerning is the rapid increase of the amount of waste produced, which is projected to continue increasing.
Recycling Plant Conditions
Environmental Impact Of Waste
How Recycling Can Help the World
The size and quantity of landfills around the world take up large amounts of land that have to be cleared by killing trees or grasslands.
Landfills also have many kinds of toxic chemicals, like methane, that can leak into the ground threatening the water supply.
E-waste contains many harmful chemicals that seep into the ground and pollute the environment
Fresh Kills landfill in New York has over 150 million tons of waste and the largest active land fill in the Americas currently holds 50 million tons of waste and is projected to hold a billion by the time it closes.
E-waste accounts for 70% of toxic waste. Just the lead in electronics harms human bodies and that is just one of the seven harmful substances in computers.
Increase in Waste
Economic Terms Applied
Communicating The Benefits of Recycling
Municipal Solid Waste
Recycling Around the World
7 Of The Largest Landfills in The World
Toxic Chemicals in Computers Exposed
Recycling creates new businesses that offer lots of new jobs. The recycling and reuse industry has employed over 1.1 million people.
Recycling adds value to materials while waste management losses money.
The recycling industry generated approximately 12.9 billion dollars in tax revenues.
Recycling saves Energy
Recycling of aluminum cans saves 95 percent more energy than making aluminum out of virgin sources.
Every pound of Aluminum recycled saves enough resources to generate the electric needs of Pittsburgh.
Recycling Saves Natural Resources
Recycling leaves more space in landfills meaning smaller and less landfills that are harming the environment.
In 1996 130 million yards of material were diverted from landfills due to recycling. That amount would require about 64 more landfills.
By substituting scrap materials for virgin materials, recycling takes the pressure off of exploiting our resources and reduces forestry and mining.
Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees.
Scarcity - The world does not have enough recycling plants or people recycling to keep up with the amount of waste we produce.
Opportunity Cost - Select businesses, companies and the such are starting to choose to recycle some products over wasting them because it can earn them more money versus wasting. This is because the public likes to help the world and so they will spend money on recycled items. (But it is still not enough recycling).
Production - Recycling produces goods like aluminum for less money. It also produces jobs for lots of people so they can make a living.
Consumption - Everyone consumes manufactured products and food that is either turned into waste or is recycled.
Interdependence - Businesses, organizations and communities are working together to encourage people to recycle rather than waste as they realize the recycling issues need to be fixed.
Advancements in Recycling
But We Still Need To Do More
There are lots of groups in communities that are pushing for people to recycle. For example the Warren Michigan Recycle group, Novi Recycle group in Michigan, and Bar Area Recycling for Charities.
There are also large-scale organizations like Green Peace, Natural Resources Defense Council, and even the EPA who encourage people to recycle in the US.
Unfortunately, their is not this kind of work towards recycling in other countries outside the US like in India and most of Africa.
Countries are also not working together very much to increase recycling. But recently the US has been reaching out to help other countries recycle more.
Some businesses also promote recycling by selling recycled products. For example Patagonia uses recycled polyester in their clothing and has used a "worn wear" program to reuse clothing rather than throw it into landfills. Another company called uncommon goods turns recycled flip flops into door mats.
Number of landfills is actually often underestimated.
Is one of the most recycled goods
Unfortunately, problems in third world recycling plants are not revealed very often to try and keep people from seeing what it is really like. But the cases it does get revealed you can see the horrors of recycling plants.
Apple was sending some of their electronics to recycling plants in China and Japan where the workers did not know how to handle the toxic chemicals and worked in dangerous conditions and Apple was doing this because it was cheaper. This is just one of the many cases where workers are untrained and create dangerous situations.
The areas around certain recycling plants in Asia measured far above the healthy limit of dangerous pollutants due to unsafe recycling plants and it caused the surrounding people and workers to be unhealthy.
And just last year an explosion at a recycling plant killed two and injured one.
We can't increase recycling if we don't fix the plants that exist already and more people will want to work when the conditions are better.
In Dharavi, India young children living in poverty would wake up early every morning to go out and pick up aluminum cans to bring to a local recycling plant where there they would work in brutal, fast, and dangerous conditions just to earn a small amount money to help their family. Unfortunately there are many cases involving situations like these in third world countries where recycling plant conditions are terrible but aren't fixed and unfortunately there even more problems with recycling that are keeping it from helping the world like it should be. By increasing recycling you will clearly see the improvements in the economy and the environment everywhere. But in order to realize those benefits we first have to improve recycling plant conditions and increase the amount of recycling and in the end the world will be a much better place.
Currently, landfills far outnumber recycling plants and are also far bigger. The largest landfill in the Americas, Fresh Kills landfill, takes up 2,200 acres compared to the largest recycling plant, The Material Recovery Facility, which takes up only 342 acres. The quantity and size of landfills like Fresh Kills Landfill poses problems to the environment including but not limited to toxic waste, wasting our resources, and it contributes to global warming. Fortunately, by increasing recycling we can solve these problems and do even more. An increase in recycling will reduce the amount of landfills needed because more of the trash will be able to be reused. Of course recycling won't completely eliminate landfills since some things can't be recycled but we don't have to eliminate landfills. After all there has always been waste created by human beings since our creation and when cities emerged but now it has gotten out of hand, recycling will be able to reduce landfills and waste to return it to a reasonable level. And due to the high populations of the current world compared to populations in the past, managing our trash is more important than ever and recycling is the key. Increasing recycling will not only solve the problems created by landfills it will improve the economy too. When you waste material you are wasting money, by recycling items like aluminum, clothing, and computers those items can be reintroduced into the market to make money. Another economic improvement of recycling is that it creates more jobs. Recycling has employed over 1.1 million people that can now make a living thanks to recycling showing how more recycling will make the world a better place.
It is clear the benefits increased recycling provides but in order to achieve that we need to improve recycling plant conditions and provide more support for recycling. Most people don't realize the terrible conditions in recycling plants in third world countries, partly because in the US we don't know everything that is happening in the Eastern hemisphere and businesses try to hide the horrors of recycling plants. But in reality recycling plant condition are a huge issue of recycling and is keeping recycling from growing. In third world countries like India people are desperate for work and so they work at recycling plants despite their terrible conditions but if the conditions were better there would be even more people who want to work at recycling plants and increase the amount of recycling plants. The best way to improve recycling plant conditions is to enforce laws that would increase wage for workers in recycling plants, and require proper training of workers. Besides improving recycling plant conditions we also need to provide support for recycling. In the U.S. the people have the power to do something about recycling and unfortunately a large portion of people don't realize the full benefits of recycling and how to achieve them. These things need to be revealed to the public, the ones that have the power, in order to provide support for recycling. Some companies and groups realize this has to be done, like Patagonia and Green Peace, and they are promoting recycling but more has to be done in order for recycling to reach the rest of the public. A good way to do this is by benefiting those who recycle like we already do with aluminum cans by giving people money for them.
In a quick summary recycling provides numerous benefits for the world's economy, environment, and society by improving people's lives. Unfortunately, the world is not recycling enough in a world full of waste with an extremely high population. The best way to solve this problem is simply to increase recycling, and to do that recycling plant conditions need to be improved and recycling needs more support.