Should Recycling Be Mandatory?

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Research Paper:
Should Recycle be mandatory?

February 15, 2011

Should recycling be mandatory?
Is recycling really going green with the environment? Or is recycling just a way to go for green material known as dollars? Recycling is a method in which materials that are not used anymore by people are processed in order to transform them in useful products. In the recent years, recycling has caused a lot of controversies whether if it is a good way to go green and help planet’s health or if it is just a big misconception driven by the media and the government. Some experts in the issue affirm that this practice is still running because recycling was transformed into a political issue that helps government and environmentalists to win money and create jobs. Many people, politicians and non-profit organizations support recycling, generally based on misconceptions; while there are other people that do not support it based on facts. Recycling should not be mandatory because it is very expensive, it will not save the planet’s environment and it does not save natural resources. Recycling is a method that appeared as a solution for the problems that environmentalists were having with landfill’s capacity and contamination of garbage around 1980’s. According to Christopher Douglass (2003), dramatic predictions of landfill closings created a crisis mentality in America. He also informs that the in 1988 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported to Congress that “one-third of all landfills in the United States would close by 1994 and that by 2008 nearly 80 percent of landfills would be shut down” (Douglass, 2003). The situation that the EPA presented to the Congress in 1988 seemed to be disastrous; but fortunately those predictions were all wrong. The problem with these predictions was that the government and environmentalists turned on red lights in order to solve this issue in a positive way that could help the planet’s environment. As a result, state and local governments had the idea of implementing a method that was supposed to reduce garbage, pollution and save resources: the government implemented recycling. Forty-four states established recycling goals in the late 1980’s (Douglass, 2003). Recycling seemed to be a great process that was supposed to save resources, clean the environment and also make money. Local governments had the idea of making money by selling recovered household waste. The process of recycling, as explained by the government, looked like a miraculous way in which all problems of garbage would be solved and that not enough with it, it will also make money for the government. Recycling was a great Idea; it was the hope of the government and also for the citizens of the United States. “The recycling movement was amazing and successful at motivating action. In 1989 most Americans chose the environment as their top priority for more government spending, ahead of even crime and health care, according to a National Opinion Research Center poll” (Douglass, 2003). The only problem with this movement was that its foundational notions were, in large part, misconceptions. Despite what the EPA said, there was no landfill crisis in the 1980’s. The new landfills opening in the 1990s were much larger in order to offset the high fixed costs of the new rules and today; landfill capacity is more than adequate (Douglass, 2003). The beginning of this custom that is still practiced in our city is based in misconceptions and myths. On the other hand, many environmentalists and experts on the issue affirm that recycling is still a great process that contributes to conserve the planet’s environment and to save money. Many non-profit organizations and even schools interested in the wellness of the community, such as Joy Christian School, supports recycling and make ads in order to persuade people to recycle for a healthier world. According to the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), well-run recycling programs cost less to...
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