Mandatory Recycling

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Recycling is known to be beneficial to the environment if done on a massive scale. The question is whether or not recycling should be made mandatory. There are many benefits to recycling and there are disadvantages as well. Some benefits include reducing waste, cost effectiveness, and education of the public on the consequences we will run into if we do not recycle.

One of the benefits of making recycling mandatory is that it helps lessen the waste to the environment by allowing us to use certain things again. One of the major benefits of being able to reuse items is that non-biodegradable products can be reused or eliminated through the process of recycling. Another reason why recycling should become mandatory is that it will help us save our natural resources for when we really need to use them. If 1 ton of paper were to be recycled, up to 2 tons of trees would be saved from being used to produce more paper. It was estimated that if about half of the world’s paper were to be recycled, then that would prevent us from cutting down 20 million acres of trees for paper. Also by recycling 1 ton of paper, we are able to save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 84 gallons of oil, and 4,100 kwh of electricity. That’s enough electricity to run an average American home for 6 months. All of these saved items can go to other more pressing needs.

Not recycling is very similar to the tragedy of the commons as mentioned by Garrett Hardin. If we are to allow one person not to recycle, then others will follow because they see it as not being fair. This will then keep going until we eventually deplete our resources and are stuck in an irreversible state. By making recycling mandatory we can avoid this problem all together. Although this might force some people to do something they may never have done, it’s for the greater good of the Earth for us to reuse what we have already taken from it.

As great as the many reasons for people to begin recycling are; a...
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