OPINION: Why Recycling Won’t Help The Earth


Why do we Recycle?

Like many children, I grew up learning the 3 r’s “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Eventually, I have come to learn how little recycling makes a difference. What the companies are trying to do is shift the blame from their products from the company to there consumers. Unfortunately, what you were never told is that out of the seven types of plastic that could be recycled, 5 rarely get recycled. According to a National Geographic article, only 9% of plastic waste has been recovered. The rest of the plastic takes a trip to the neighborhood landfill.

When Did This Happen

It wasn’t always this way, the U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, and nearly half goes to China. In 2016 alone, Chinese manufacturers imported 7.3 million metric tons of plastic from the U.S. Waste is the 6th largest export to China. But in 2017, China passed the National Sword policy banning plastic waste from being imported — for the protection of the environment and people’s health — beginning in January 2018. Due to lack of places to send there recycling to either: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away. Unfortunately, we have taken the ladder.

How does Recycling Effect The Environment?

Debris from recycling plants can make the recycling centers unhygienic. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint instead of recycling, you should try to reduce or reuse it. The reason that recycles is at the end of the line is cause it is a last resort. Other ways to help are to do some basic things like taking shorter showers, don’t buy clothes all the time, eat less meat, try to limit the amount of waste that you produce, the list goes on and on. You could also read this article on why we shouldn’t have Styrofoam trays in school. It is the little things that can help our earth stay a little greener.



Work Cited

Dufour, Fred. “A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled.” National Geographic, 20 Dec. 2018, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/#close.\


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