By Emma Almanza
Our planet is now doing worse than ever with trash filling our oceans, pollution being responsible for over 3.4 million deaths, and more and more ice caps melting. Scientists predict that by 2031 global warming will be completely irreversible with one of the biggest factors being an excessive amount of waste and non-biodegradable materials. So what can we do to stop this?
Recycling has so far proved to be a particularly effective solution. It is exceptionally easy to do as well. Most cities in the United States provide each household with a recycling bin in which you can put cardboard containers, aluminum cans, translucent plastics, and paper or paper products. These bins are picked up twice a month in a truck just like your garbage and then sent to a sorting facility in which the items are sorted and cleaned. Afterward, the items are sold to companies that turn them into suitable materials and use them to build their products.
Another way to effectively recycle is to simply build something yourself with recyclable materials. There are many ways to reuse plastics, cardboard, and glass including making mini planters out of old soda cans and glass bottles or a desk organizer using old coffee cups. If you get creative, there is a limitless amount of things you can make while simultaneously helping the environment.
For those who might not have the time or resources to do things at home, there are tons For those who might not have the time or resources to do things at home, there are tons of opportunities to recycle either at school or home. Taking care to put your trash and recyclables into the correct containers is a good way to start or your school may even have programs to encourage recycling that you can join. At our school, for example, students in the Green Champions club have created a new bin to put compostable items in and a Zero Waste Lunch Pledge.
“Our goal is to have everyone at MAST sign and pledge to have a zero-waste lunch box, meaning that everything in it is reusable including water bottles, containers, and utensils,” MAST student and Green Champion member Lily Thorpe said.
By making an effort to recycle, we are reducing the amount of waste building up in both our landfills and oceans. In diminishing this waste, we not only save organisms who are susceptible to eating or getting stuck in plastic, but we also prevent the release of harmful gases like methane and carbon dioxide.
Additionally, recycling helps save plenty of energy when creating materials. Since new products can be made from recycled materials such as plastic, glass, and cardboard, there is no longer a need to extract raw materials from the environment. In turn, this prevents pollution by noxious gases that would have been released during these extractions. If everyone does their best to recycle and encourages others to do the same, we will be doing the planet a big favor.