Reasons to Recycle Besides Global Warming | Teen Ink

Reasons to Recycle Besides Global Warming

August 28, 2011
By starryeyed10 GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
starryeyed10 GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
17 articles 29 photos 9 comments

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To many people, recycling is just another thing to worry about or to pay money for. Everyone hears the same “reduce reuse recycle” slogan that is spread throughout schools and communities, but not many people really consider the crucial importance of recycling an aluminum can. Another common phrase that is thrown around is “global warming,” which some consider controversial or not valid. Although most everyone has probably been told to recycle at some point in his or her life, it is hard to take the extra steps without actual motivation.

A major concern of people today is the economy, and how it could possibly get worse. Many of the costs involved in resource extraction and later waste management are infact wastes of money that could be spent elsewhere. Although the process of recycling does have its cost, the sum is significantly less than that of the combined extraction and waste control fees. According to EPA, up to 75% of the solid waste we generate is recyclable. This means that if we recycle these huge amounts of material, we could spend much less money extracting and making new materials for use.
Recycling cannot only save money, but can save the natural resources that are destroyed while creating these products. Plastic bottles and aluminum cans are both made using oil, water, and energy. In 2001, the energy that was used to replace all of the wasted aluminum cans in the U.S. equals that of 16 million barrels of crude oil. Even though it seems that these materials will always be there for our use; that is not true. Oil, trees, and fresh water are all limited resources that can even cost a lot of money to obtain. Even now, debates over ownership of such nonrenewable sources have been the subject of fights such as the Diamond wars in Sierra Leone. Because we are using up so many materials so quickly, this type of a war could become even more of a problem in the future. Recycling cannot stop this result, but it can slow the downward spiral of waste that can lead us to harmful results in society.
According to EPA, the average person wastes 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Landfills and incinerators are used to “control” this waste and store it under us where it is said to eventually leak harmful toxins into our soil and water. Because these things aren’t happeningcurrenttly, it doesn’t mean that we wont see these harmful results in the future. One hint that our earth has given us to recycle is that both the sources and landfill spaces for our wasted product are limited. It is our responsibility to make sure that the earth literally doesn’t run out.

The author's comments:
I am very supportive of the theory of global warming, and preventing it, of course. However, many people who but heads with that theory believe that recycling is not as essential. Interestingly, there are many reasons for people to recycle that do not involve controversial global warming.

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