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In article, “Recycling: You May Be Doing It Wrong,” published on Smithsonian.com in 2014, she explains the main issues people face when recycling. Thompson argues that failing to research regulations, the inability to keep up with new technology systems, and our bad habits when recycling are the reasons we do not reap the benefits of recycling in our environments. With further research, it is evident that recycling programs are indeed failing due to low consumer education and involvement, government hands-on involvement, and major companies’ influence.
The key to beneficial environmental success is the binding of consumers, companies, and governments working together to save the world that built us. As a whole, there is a shared responsibility of finding strategies and turning the setbacks into achievements, as the recycling revolution depends on it.
The recycling revolution begins with the residents of our nation. Overall, 35% of Americans recycled in 2018. This is due to consumer education and their beliefs. California residents exceed their performance in recycling systems and programs.
This appears because California is prone to more environmental disasters, such as wildfires and mudslides, that some believe are due to climate change. California residents value their recycling programs more since they experience the effects of waste accumulation. More now than ever, it is important that we adopt an understanding and appreciation of our surroundings with the goal to become more responsible and informed inhabitants. There are hundreds of recycling programs that are willing to teach the concept and regulations of recycling to citizens, but they arise at a problem when citizens fail to completely follow these regulations.
Failing to adhere to your state’s regulations makes things costlier when sorting. Programs should introduce informative notices to be sent to individuals who opted for a recycling service and programs that hold some responsibility to the resident. A program such as a deposit/refund system could help the employees working in these programs, to sort less, and citizens can learn regulations by being more hands-on with the product they choose to recycle. This system, like what we already apply with aluminum can pick up, would impose a surcharge on recyclable goods when purchased and give an attractive rebate on the item when recycled. This system would also debunk the belief that recycling is an inconvenience. While implementing new techniques to people, programs must also remember recycling is not a competition, but a team effort. More successful programs, such as those in the west coast should share their techniques with those of the east coast.
Most of these efforts cannot be set in stone without the help of everyday consumers, but most importantly the companies we buy from and also their competitors. Dunkin Donuts, a 9.6-billion-dollar company, promised to stop using foam cups by 2020. Why not make the change now? Recycled materials may not be cheaper, but the price is worth an everlasting environment and brighter future. If companies make the decision to invest in sustainable materials now, they will become an inspiration for their neighboring companies and consumers. Not trying to implement these new strategies are a bad indication of their values to their consumers and employees. Many corporations believe that even when they do decide to switch to sustainable packaging, they will not be able to control how those materials will be recovered, and they are right. Changing their packaging will be taking a leap of faith that can inform and persuade their consumers, as well as awaken their interests towards recycling, and that itself is worth the change.
Overall, the Government’s involvement plays a key role in the success of the recycling revolution. China’s ban of the imports of over 30 varieties of solid waste, such as plastic, paper, and steel, was placed in January 2018. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries records 31 % of America’s scrap waste was sent to China yearly up until the ban. This was a quick fix to getting rid of the waste in our country with no consequences. There wasn’t a huge announcement by the government administration. Maybe they are working silently to find other solutions for recyclable waste, but this should not be a secret. This ban should act as a wakeup call to the US government and citizens to prompt us in the direction of recycling properly. The UK, since the ban, has placed taxes on some plastic items in hopes that citizens would use less. The American government should be honest with its citizens about how much waste we accumulate and what the effects are, such as soil pollution and toxic air. The changes made to recycle may be different and unappealing, but it’s always better to be realistic than sorry.
In Helen Thompson’s article, she tells her readers that “Doing a bit of research before you try to recycle makes all the difference.” In reality, one must do much more research than they probably would like, but knowing that it is for a better cause and worth the time spent. Consumers and companies can be the driving force of change in recycling participation by leading the activity of what is needed to preserve a healthy and enduring environment. By being the change we would like to see, our government will uphold our efforts and make better strides towards aiding our recycling programs. Unity is central in this recycling revolution and each tier of the homeland must do their part.
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