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Is Recycling Becoming a Familiar Habit?

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Is recycling becoming a familiar habit? [Writing suggestion: Unless in a quote or a title, avoid rhetorical questions in academic writing. A good idea is to provide answers, not questions] Jason Smart
COM/156
January 20 2013 Elizabeth Lennon
Is recycling becoming a familiar habit? Individuals and large companies are bearing in mind the advantages of going green. There are several statistics that verify the rise of recycling among large companies and individuals. There has been a two year jump in recycling of household containers twice as much as 2008. Statistics show that 29 percent or 238.8 million pounds of non-bottled plastics were recycled in 2010. All though the data about recycling in enlightening, there are still millions of us tossing harmful chemicals in our garbage. There are still items such as discarded bleach bottles, detergent bottles, and commonly used household cleaning chemicals. We may think that it is acceptable to toss these empty chemical bottles in the trash, but it is not because they still contain residue from the compound products. According to EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) rinse procedures should be as followed. All chemical containers, liquid or solid, must be rinsed 3 times before being discarded. A rinse should consist of minimal water being sloshed around the container. The first rinse should be collected as chemical waste, it can be put into any waste container of compatible chemicals, the second and third rinses can then go down the drain. They have even composed a list of chemical products that fall under this procedure. If the chemical product falls under the list of acutely hazardous waste then all 3 rinses should be collected.

The numbers do not lie We as Americans produce more than 4.5 pounds of trash a day per household. With over 3 hundred million of us in this country, the amount of trash we produce per day per household is astounding. After all who could rap their head around that amount of garbage? We need to be more involved in recycling programs to help preserve our environment and planet, or eventually we will be living in garbage. There have been neighborhoods constructed on previous landfills, which is not a bad thing, but we are throwing away recyclable items at an alarming rate. Perhaps if recycling were made mandatory then more Americans would get the message. It would definitely get your attention if you were fined from the city you live in for not recycling.
Trash is wreaking turmoil on a global level. Trash has a global impact on land and sea life. More landfills are at or above capacity and are bursting at the seams. Not to mention the large islands of floating debris that can be seen from space in our oceans and seas. A good example of this is the patch in the North Pacific. There is over 3000 miles in length and width floating aimlessly in the sea. This has had an adverse effect on marine life and human consumption. It has been killing off marine life because of plastics found in ocean waters. This includes but not limited to plankton, small fish, and even birds that eat infected marine life. If not found dead and caught, marine life could have an unfavorable effect on human life if consumed. Let`s think about this; would you want to eat a plastic bottle or a six pack ring? These items are not biodegradable therefore they last forever unless processed in a recycling center. Marine life is mistaking these items as sources of food, which could easily be consumed by human beings. In reference to Organic Consumers association we live in a plastic convenience culture; virtually every human being on this planet uses plastic material directly and indirectly every single day. On average we use 190 pounds of plastic annually. These items include but are not limited to bottled water, fast food packaging, syringes, garbage bags, and much more. Every bit of plastic ever produced has been buried in landfills, incinerated, and dumped into lakes, rivers and oceans.
Recycling makes more economic and environmental sense. There are more recycling or scrap companies these days. We can now save our aluminum products and turn them into cash. When you were a child could you remember going to the local cash for cans recycling center and getting cash from your families and friends aluminum cans? Still to this day we collect aluminum cans, not only but also to cash them in for some spending money, but doing so we are also helping to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. I have discovered recently that many of my industrial customers who use metal materials as a means to produce their product have bins and sometimes huge roll offs that they use to collect excess materials. The companies that supply these bins allow their customers to utilize them as long as they agree to give the extra material to the company that supplies the containers. Of course the scrap that is collected has some value, therefore the recycling company that owns the containers pay the businesses that use their containers for their excess material. This is proof that not only are large companies taken advantage of cashing in, but also they are thinking about the environment. According to Business Pundit, there are 25 big companies who have dedicated some time into going green. These companies include GE (General Electric), Du Pont, McDonald`s, Home Depot, and Dell. Concurring with Business Pundit; General Electric has taken steps in the right direction for going green by selling ecomagination products (including solar panels). They are also making headway in the efforts of cleaning up the Hudson River. DuPont another company going green has taken strides toward more suitable operations. It has done so by drastically lowering its emissions of airborne carcinogens and greenhouse gases. This effort by DuPont has reduced their greenhouse gases by 63% during the 90`s which puts them far ahead of the time table that has been set forth. The fast food chain McDonald`s has formed an alliance the organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Instead of ravaging natural habitats of animals McDonald`s now works in close collaboration with PETA on systematically reforming its business practices. The Home Depot is another company that has in the past been an offender of taking advantage of the environment in the past. The Home depot was the world`s largest retailer of old-growth wood products. After numerous customer calls and letters the bigwigs at Home Depot decided enough was enough. They came up with a policy that ensured consumers and activists that the days of harvesting trees from old-growth rainforests were over.

In conclusion, do you really do your part as an individual on this planet to improve the environment we exist in? We have to remember that there are over a billion of us that populate this vast world, and every little thing we do can cause a reaction rather it be good or bad. As you can see everyone can play a part in the efforts to recycle and keep the world a clean or greener place to live. Perhaps we should all consider what many companies already know and are doing. They seem to be on the right track when it comes to recycling and creating a smaller carbon foot print. If we all begin to do as these large companies the planet could be a cleaner place to live. The realization of this happening overnight is impractical, but if you can just start with baby steps, and pass the word along to coworkers, family, and friends eventually it will catch on. It is ultimately up to us as individuals to take care of this beautiful planet we live on, but it seems that if it is not convenient then we just simply do not want any part of it. After all we are creatures of habit, and bad habits are easy to obtain, but even harder to break. Possibly if recycling became a law were there was a penalty or fine to enforce this rule, more of us would be involved. In the future this may be the case if we are not careful in what we discard in our trash cans. As you can see recycling plastics, aluminum products, and properly cleaning cleaning products containers should be a ritual for all of us as humans. We should think about the adverse effects we have on our environment just because we enjoy the convenience of being lazy. Recycling does take some effort, but what are we leaving are children to. Will this planet be a gigantic landfill or a vast beautiful place to raise their families? This is a question everyone should be asking themselves. Come on folks let us not ruin the future for our children let`s do something as responsible humans and think about the changes we can make to keep out world clean and habitable.

References
Business Pundit, NY Times, and PSU.EDU

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