Recycling for the Future

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Recycling for the Future
According to Franklin Delano Roosevelt “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” Just about everyone knows our environment is in danger. One of the most serious threats is the massive amount of waste we put into the air, water, and ground every year. All across the world are thousands of places that have been polluted by toxic waste, radioactive waste, and just plain garbage. It is imperative that we are aware of all the things that we can do to help our environment by diminishing the amount of trash and garbage that we produce each year. One of the main reasons for recycling is to reduce the amount of garbage sent to landfills. Landfill usage peaked in the 1980s, when Americans sent almost 150 million tons of garbage to landfills each year. Today, America still generates more than 100 million tons of trash into landfills annually. Every year, Americans use approximately 1 billion shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste ("Waste and recycling,"). Even though modern sanitary landfills are safer and less of a nuisance than the open dumps of the past, no one likes having a landfill around. In heavily populated areas, landfill space is scarce. Where space is plentiful, filling it with garbage is not a very good solution to the problem. Today, recycling efforts in the United States divert 32 percent of waste away from landfills. That prevents more than 60 million tons of garbage from ending up in landfills every year ("Waste and recycling,"). Recycling is a simple concept: take something that is not useful anymore and make it into something new instead of just throwing it away. It can be anything from recycling old paper into new paper or making an old hubcap into a decorative birdbath. In reality, recycling can get pretty complex. It interacts with our environment, politics, economy, and even our own human behavior patterns...