Reanna Michigan

Re-inventing Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

It's not that hard. Read to find out how.

Dear Next President,

Let’s face it. Not everyone cares about recycling. In a generation that’s about me, me, me, and now, now, now, we don’t hear the words reduce, reuse, and recycle. It can take up to 1,000 years for a plastic bottle to disintegrate and you and I aren't going to be around long enough to see the effects of that. But this doesn’t mean that recycling doesn’t matter. There’s only one Earth and until we colonize mars, we’ve got to live with it. Natural resources and living space for the growing population is limited. Well, if you can’t bring the person to recycle, you’ve got to bring the recycling bin to the person. Federal law requiring every public trash can to have a paper and plastic bin attached will make recycling too convenient of an opportunity to pass up. I am writing to you, Mr./Mrs. Future President, to ask that you make recycling bins federally required in all public areas along with trash cans.

Why recycle? Because it reduces space in landfills, and reuses materials to save energy, recycling is clearly the way to go. Landfills are taking up liveable space. According to the Population Reference Bureau, earth’s population continues to grow at around 35,300 babies a day. The EPA states that every american produces an average of 4.3 pounds of waste in a day. There simply won’t be enough space for this much waste. More importantly, there won’t even be enough space for existing. Earth’s natural resources are running out. In the U.S., 6 billion trees are cut down each year but only 63% of them are recycled and only 1.6 billion new seeds are planted according to Rainforest Action Network. This means 2 billion trees are wasted when these trees could have been recycled. Recycling also saves energy. For example, the Conserve Energy Future Organization says, “When you recycle aluminum cans, you can save 95% of the energy required to produce those cans from raw materials, energy saved from recycling one glass bottle is enough to light a light bulb for four hours” (Rinkesh). Reusing bottles and cans will save energy and conserve natural resources on a larger scale.

Some may think that recycling causes more hurt to the environment because of the emissions the recycling trucks emit. However, under a government run joint recycling trash program, the trucks make the same stops at the same places to pick up both cans and trash. This not only makes recycling more convenient for people, but streamlines the whole recycling collection process!

Why federally required? As important as recycling is, some people are hindered by the lack of convenience to participate. Bottles, cans, paper and plastic can be reused, but people just don’t have a place to recycle it. In a 2011 Ipsos Public Affairs survey, 25% of the people said they don’t recycle because recycling is not accessible where they live. However, this doesn’t mean they aren't open to recycling. In a survey by Pepsi Co., 80% of the people surveyed said they would recycle their bottles and cans more if recycling bins were more accessible to them. Paper and plastic bins need to be just as accessible as trash cans are when people are out and about.

If trash cans, paper, and bottle recycling were federally required to be in all public places, the world would benefit. Natural resources would last and there would be more liveable space. Saving the earth would be more convenient. We’ve only got one earth, and everything is limited. It’s about the future, where America is heading, and who we want to be. 

Avondale High School

AP Lang

Rick Kreinbring's 2016-17 AP Language and Composition students

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