Rhetorical Analysis: Walden, ‘Where I Lived, and What I Lived For “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” Is the second chapter from Henry D. Thoreau’s book Walden, found on pages 81-98 originally published by Princeton University Press, 1854. This edition is the 2004 reprint of the 1971 copyright with an introduction by John Updike. The critical memoir was penned in 1845 by Henry David Thoreau as an account of a two year and two month period spent in the woods living at Walden Pond near the village of Concord, Mass. Written in observation of the times in which Thoreau lived, he masterfully describes aspects of the lives of the local villagers and the thoughts he himself has in respect to what he sees life as, and how he believes life should be. Thoreau’s stylistic use of language gives the reader a vivid account of how he sees the world progressing in the village of Concord. His observation of life and what he found to be the only necessary things which a person truly needs comes to life in his account. Thoreau makes a detailed, vivid account giving voice to a simpler life. He mocks his contemporary’s belief in the need to possess material goods, land and wealth as a form of being. Thoreau writings in this section come to life because of his observations of the average man, or maybe more like the ideal model of a man, and what the society of his time believes should be priorities. Land ownership, if one had the resources to own land, is a point that Thoreau makes references. Ownership of material wealth is brought to light as well. His overall thinking on these issues is deliberated over throughout the text. He goes into great detail about the things he has observed in his nearly thirty years of life. He has a very distinct opinion of the culture in which he lives and writes with a very strong opinion to the silliness in which his peers live their lives by what he would consider not really living free. He is of the mind that people are enslaved by the very things which they strive to obtain. He states in this section, “for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things in which he can afford to leave alone” (82). This is a comment that makes reference to this mind set Thoreau has taken with him on his experiment into the woods. Thoreau’s experiment is one of living only with what he needs, and taking with him as little as possible and to acquiring the rest from nature when possible. Thoreau’s choice of a living environment and the use of his own hands to build his living quarters add to assessment of the “necessaries of life” and add value to his statements of what really should matter to men, which in this case would be true freedom to live. Thoreau states, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And to see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” (92). Thoreau’s ability to survive by his own means is a common ability for his time. Farming as he accounts is the primary means of income for people in and around his village. He speaks of farms in which he had looked at owning and speaking with people who owned the farms at the time. He has a moment that he briefly owned one farm even though he had never actually taken possession of it. He never had the funds to seriously acquire any such farm however was offered ten dollars to not take possession of the farm as the farmer’s wife had changed her mind on leaving the property. He thought of the farm as a place in nature and not as a means to an end, this being an income in which to obtain material goods. When he speaks of his thought of obtaining a farm of his own, he states, “I knew all the while that it would yield the most abundant crop of the kind I wanted if only I could afford to leave it alone” (83). This is testament to his thoughts on this topic, that a farm was more valuable if just left to nature freeing the farmer at the same time. All of this points directly to Thoreau’s attitude and reason for the witting of Walden and the experiment in which he invested himself wholly. Thoreau’s relationship to the reader is one of knowing disagreement. He has been part of the world he disagrees with, being the son of a pencil maker. He attended Harvard, which was something that only people with money would have done in his time. He has even worked several occupations over the course of his life in what appears to be an internal search for what he believes and who he is as a person. He seems to be attempting to persuade his peers that their life of possession is a waste of time. That expressing oneself to nature is a much more noble pursuit than being attached to ones belongings could ever be. He expresses this with the phrase “to affect the quality of the day is the highest of art” (90). His attempt to show his readers that life does not need to be a hurry, but should be examined at a slower pace so it can be much more appreciated is a main theme he is proposing to his readers. Thoreau’s brings a sense of emotional relaxation to his writing as the ability to shed the unnecessary baggage in one’s life can be realized by all who read the text to some level. He allow the readers to find something in life, which they can do without in the attempt to find an inner happiness that does not require the newest goods that mankind has to offer. The peers and other member of this village are not the only ones who can benefit from Thoreau’s observations. His writing reaches farther than his local affiliates. His words reach out to the entire nation of the time and future generations as well, whether intended or not. His orientation is one of local “roaming” and doesn’t express his thoughts farther than what he sees in his area; however, the text can be enveloped by people anywhere who can most definitely relate to the feeling of suffocation from the weight of possession and responsibility to a way of life that supports an unnecessary life style. He does however; take the stance that news is only minimally important in the aspect that once you hear something it really doesn’t matter how many times that same situation occurs. In a sense, once a person knows something is possible, the frequency in which it occurs is unimportant. His words reach farther than maybe even Thoreau had intended them. Whether or not they could be treated as “gospel” is up to the reader and what he or she is willing to give up in order “to live free.” Not many readers of his day would attempt such a life on purpose, and even Thoreau himself stayed near enough the village that his experiment could be aborted in the case of an extreme emergency even though he has yet to mention this outright in the text. Thoreau states: “I was seated by the shore of a small pond, about a mile and a half from the village of Concord and somewhat higher than it”. Thoreau’s language is poetic at times; although, because of the era it was written in can be hard to interpret on the first read through. A thorough reading is necessary for the reader to comprehend the meaning of the text in areas of the chapter. An example of this would be the passage that concludes the chapter. He observes, “My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore-paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine” (98). The passage can be confusing reading it only once; however, if the reader examines it more closely, he or she might find that it is referring to the ability of the hands and feet to do work of value, in Thoreau’s opinion, as they have done for him in his life up to this point. However, Thoreau thinks that his head is the more valuable to him in his now settled surroundings, and is ready to start mining the thoughts that will come along with his forth coming experiences in the remote location that is now his home. The poetry that he writes the final paragraph with sets the tone for his thoughts of the moment. He appears to have an eagerness to experience all that nature has in store for him, and to not live a fruitless life. The question now is whether or not Thoreau is effectively getting his message across to the reader. His wording very effectively sets an image of his situation in the readers mind, and his environment is painted wonderfully by the phrases and analogies that he uses to express himself. Environment is the key word as he is not just trying to explain his surroundings, but moreover explains why he believes as he does, what is going on in his thoughts along with where he is and what is happening down to the smallest detail such as the sound of the mosquito in the morning, to the mist on the early morning pond as the sun rises. His point of how things are and how they could or maybe even should be is put into perspective in this section of the text. Thoreau gets his point across with excellent imagery and poetry that allows the reader to be drawn into his world and live what Thoreau is living at that time. Those who read the text can start to believe the way that Thoreau is living his experiment is an acceptable reality and can easily get on board with the possibility of a simpler life. One may even envy his ability to attempt this life, as he allows the reader to imagine a life less complicated by the things that they value in their own life. To be free to move without being tied to the comforts of life and to feel that maybe life could be comfortable in a different sense without being suffocated by material belongings. To come and go as one pleases without constraint to property in the form of land or all the other things that can fill ones home.
Yepsen, Rhodes. "Encouraging Sustainable Recycling Behavior Through Financial Incentives." BioCycle 1 Dec. 2007: 34-7. ProQuest. 29 Sep. 2008 . The above mentioned article states the progress that was made in Wilmington, Delaware toward implementing a recycling program that would increase community participation by using of a reward system along with ease of use for the citizens participating in the program. It describes the steps taken in running two separate pilot programs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania neighborhoods to research the level citizens would take part in the program. Research was conducted in two separate income neighborhoods to determine whether or not the ease of recycling and the incentive program could work to increase reusable materials along with reducing material deposited in the landfill.
The points out the thought that recycling failures are due to the investment in time needed for households to successfully increase recycling and reduce waste in landfills. The pilot programs that were implemented to test the theory that one bin used to recycle any material appropriate to be recycled would increase the participation in those communities. Along with the ease of the one bin method was the implementation of a financial incentive given by recycling firm (Blue Mountain materials recycling facility), paid as credits to local business’ for the amount in weight of the bi-weekly recycling bin picked up curbside. The rate in which households increased their recycling efforts jumped from 30 to 90 percent in one neighborhood and quadrupled to 90 percent as well in the second pilot neighborhood. This laid the ground work to implement the program on a city sized scale. Wilmington, DE was the city to be used to implement the large scale recycling program which would grow to 65 percent of the 73,000 population participating in the program along with over 300 retail partners and growing. This amount of recycled materials has reduced the deposits in the landfill by 35 percent (6,700 tons) every other week. The source is a trade publication in the “green” movement and reliable to a degree, however may be slightly tainted due to putting a positive spin on any recycling effort that appears to work toward the end goal of changing recycling policy. This article is extremely useful in that it exemplifies how recycling could increase if the time needed and the financial incentive were implemented in other cities. Fargo has roughly the same population as Wilmington and the fact that the program is successful there makes it feasible to implement the same or similar program in other cities of at least the same general population. The extreme increase in recycling due to the program leads one to believe that recycling as it is in its current state will not provide improved results toward reusing limited resources anytime soon if ever. Gamerman, Ellen. "Weekend Journal; An Inconvenient Bag." Wall Street Journal. 26 Sept. 2008. ProQuest. 29 Sep. 2008 .
This article from The Wall Street Journal is an informational piece on the new trend in “green” grocery shopping with popularity of the reusable shopping bag. The article goes on to explain the difficulty in making products environmentally safe because of the materials being used. It also states the extent to which some retailers are planning to cut purchases of “single use” plastic bags and market reusable shopping bags for customers which will lower operating costs in the effort to transform the retail experience into a more green experience. The reputation of The Wall Street Journal and the expert reporting that has been a trusted source for national news for many years establishes this as a credible source. The reporting and facts of this article will be most useful when discussing some of the problems with the “green” movement and how good intensions can backfire if not thought through completely. An example of the unintended problems with this particular effort lies in the bag which is the focus of this article. The article points to the use of the reusable shopping bags that are becoming more common on the retail landscape from the grocery store to the megastore. The main statement of this article is the use of the reusable bag and that if a person doesn’t intend to use the bag, then it is better not taking the bag because it will most likely still end up in the landfill like its thinner disposable cousins, however because it uses a larger quantity of plastic, it will take much longer to biodegrade. Other secondary points made in the article pertain to city ordinances in places such as San Francisco, that is making an attempt to ban plastic bags altogether. This comes on the news that an estimated 100 billion plastic bags are thrown out every year in the U.S. alone. It is interesting to learn that the reusable bag is made from plastic even though the feel and look may lead a person to think otherwise. This point is important when considering grabbing several of the bags to transport purchases to and from the store and whether or not they will actually get used. A suggestion the author submits to the reader is to return the bags to the vehicle after unloading so they will always be available and not forgotten at home. This source will be very useful in showing the extent in which certain entities, whether it be a corporation such as Wal-Mart, or a even a government such as the City of San Francisco, and how it is trying to eliminate the plastic bag issue that is becoming a much more popular issue in the quest to become more environmentally responsible.
Silva, Cristina. "Recycling Has a New Supporter: The Mayor: The County's Offer of Free Recycling Proves Too Tempting For Mayor Rick Baker to Ignore." St. Petersburg Times. 25 Sept. 2008. ProQuest. 29 Sept. 2008 .
This article is strictly on the point of why the Mayor of St. Petersburg, FL has changed his mind on curbside recycling in the city and what the issues were that had held him back from implementing a city wide recycling program in St. Petersburg, FL.
The St. Petersburg Times article seems to be a relevant and unbiased source for the article that has credible legs to it. The article is short and to the point, but offers insight into the problems of instituting curbside recycling that many U.S. cities are currently dealing with. This articles main point is that the mayor has changes his mind toward implementing a recycling program, due to the involvement of the county and their willingness to pay for the implementation of the program that is currently on the table. The mayor had two concerns that had limited his willingness to get behind a city recycling program with the biggest issue being the cost involved with such a program. This issue is the main point and biggest hurdle the city was dealing with to start curbside recycling for the residents. The second issue the mayor had concerns with was greenhouse emissions from collections vehicles that would be used for this service. The second point leads one to believe that the recycling service would be of great interest to the city since it appears to want to be more environmentally responsible.
This article will back up the point that will be the main focus of the paper which appears to be the cost involved in starting recycling programs in cities nationwide. This article will be useful to discuss how economic issues play the largest role in household recycling even in cities such as St. Petersburg, that are interested in developing these types of services for their communities .
McKay, Dan. "City Sees Recycling Increase: Curbside Service, Awareness Cited as Reasons." Albuquerque Journal. 23 Sept. 2008,C.1. ProQuest. 29 Sept. 2008 . The main point of this article is on recycling efforts in Albuquerque, NM that take the approach that keeping the community informed and aware of the importance of recycling at the household level. This approach differs from other resources being used, because the approach is not one of financial incentive to motivate communities to recycle.
Credibility is sound on the basis of the source being a locate newspaper. The article is not detailed in the information about how the city informs the citizens in order to get them to participate in the recycling program in certain parts of the city, however does state that the effort is making a difference with the community. The article goes on to mention the fact that 10,000 tons of waste are recycled annually with the program that provides recycling bins to residents to recycle materials to be picked up curbside for convenience. It is unclear if there is a current fee being charged by the city to recycle at the current rate, however, the article goes on to say that the success of the program has maxed out the current recycling facility, and increased amounts of recycling would require a garbage collection rate increase to fund a new facility.
This source is beneficial in its statements of the amount of recycling being done by a community for benefit of the environment as the only motivating factor. The Albuquerque community, if memory serves, is a very affluent, artistic and would seem to be motivated by good deed alone in my opinion. The informing and making the community aware of the benefits of recycling could take much more effort in different communities in the U.S. along with a greater financial propaganda program to make this approach successful.
Bell, Tom. "Westbrook to Get Free Recycling: The Deal With Casella Waste Systems Includes Extending a Sewer Line on County Road." Portland Press Herald. 23 Sept. 2008. ProQuest. 29 Sept. 2008 . This article is focuses on how the city of Portland , ME has overcome charging recycling fees by making a deal to supply a sewer system free of charge to the Casella Waste System in exchange for free curbside recycling to the city residents for the next 20 years.
The source of the article is the Portland Press Herald which has local credibility and doesn’t show any signs of bias either for or against the deal. The estimated cost of the sewer system is $250,000 and will also be used by other landowners along the county road which will bring additional income to the city from this use. The waste facility is also prohibited from building an incinerator to dispose of unrecyclable materials in order to avoid greenhouse gas emissions. The city will also pay 68.50 per ton of garbage to the facility down from 98.50 as part of the deal. The facility will then process the recycled material and sell it to companies that make secondary recycled products for resale on a national basis.
This article is not original except in how it shows one possibility for a community to fund recycling to the citizens while keeping the process simple to participate in to keep the recycling going and less waste in the landfill. This barter system approach could definitely work in many communities that would like to find alternative ways to “green” up their communities, when simply taxing residents or charging fees to gain participation in recycling programs is desired.
"How We Can Avoid Future Landfill Expansions." Bucks County Courier Times. 22 Sept. 2008. ProQuest. 29 Sept. 2008 . This article shows the ways that average households can save money by reducing waste by purchasing reusable item as opposed to single use items. The article goes on to specify other ways to reduce waste in households such as composting food waste, to finding other uses around the house for items that can’t currently be recycled.
The article comes from the Buck County Courier Times located in Levittown, PA and has a focus on ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle better k now as the three R’s. The first point of the article focus on being aware of what you buy to ensure that it is something that can be recycled and choose only those items that can be recycled; if it can’t be recycled you should ask yourself it can have another long term use. The example question the article asks is: “Can this be used for my children’s art supplies?” The second point stated in the article is that food waste takes up large amounts of the waste disposed by households and makes note that this type of material can be easily composted instead.
The article is a bit vague but takes a different angle to recycling and gives would be or current recycler ideas and awareness to the issues of landfill reduction. The articles makes note that Wheelabrator, which is a local recycling processor, reuses 200 tons of recyclables on any given day to make clean, marketable secondary materials.
Abramovitz, Janet N. and Ashley T. Mattoon. “Paper Cuts: Recovering the Paper Landscape.” Worldwatch Paper 149. (Dec. 1999): 31-36. Worldwatch Paper is a respected journal that focuses on environmental issues in many different areas. This issue is on the paper waste issue that grows exponentially annually, the resources origin, the need for sustainability, and the need to recycle or eliminate the use of paper products. The portion of this particular journal that is the focus is on the issue of trimming consumption.
The section of the journal on trimming paper consumption is geared toward how businesses currently use paper, and how they could drastically reduce current usage. The largest use of paper as would be expected would be the office. The areas of interest are things such as the availability of “duplex” printers, or printers with the ability to print on both sides of the paper. This is currently the most commonly used printer in the business setting today, however they are not being put to this use as many businesses don’t print on both sides of paper. Another way to effectively cut paper usage is to print two pages per side, which is estimated to reduce paper usage by 75% in some cases. Paperless billing is now becoming more accepted nationally by the average consumer which is responsible for reduced paper consumption in the modern office. Yet another suggestion to reduce paper consumption in the modern business was to reduce the weight of the paper, in other words to use a lower grade paper that has a thinner page thickness to it which will allow more sheets to for use in the same amount of space. This is a very informative and insightful topic within a journal that can be extremely useful in other areas of paper waste and recyclability of the limited paper resource. There are many ideas on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle paper that is backed up with solid research to solidify the facts and ideas put forth.
Porter, Richard C. The Economics of Waste. Resources for the Future, 2002. This book was written with the purpose of examining the economics behind recycling everything that can be recycled along with scientific data focused on why recycling works when it does, and why recycling doesn’t work when issues such a government regulations, lack of public interest, or financial lose due to inefficient recycling processes take place for example.
This very in depth book is a systematic examination of different aspects of the recycling industry. It puts many areas of the industry under the microscope and examines the instability of recycling and why it is hard to get a large scale recycling operation going, due to financial losses experienced in many cases. The issues that are prevalent are the disposable nature of most things consumed in the modern era. Nothing seems to be made to last or made to be reused. Economics success of the modern corporations is based on consumption and economic growth cannot happen without continued consumption, which translates into the need for disposable materials to be used to make our products. This is contributing to large quantities of waste going into landfills, and the inability of recycling facilities to make an economic profit means that they are of no need in our society. The reason that these facilities can’t succeed stems from a number of reasons, with the most obvious being that people just don’t seem to care about recycling. It may not be that people don’t care as much as they don’t feel it is convenient to recycle and requires either too much effort, time, or cost to the consumer, all of which gives zero incentive to recycle and care for the environment that still hasn’t been embraced by a significant enough of the population to have much of an effect.
This book has a very logical and mathematical approach to the issues with effective recycling, and financial gains that will make recycling an industry that will become common place in modern society. The author has stated clearly that financial incentive will be need on the part of the consumer to recycle, along with financial incentive for companies to make long lasting products, and finally financial incentive to build recycling facilities that can turn a profit. The entire book will be extremely useful in backing up many ideas and concepts that are the norm in today’s recycling efforts with detailed mathematical formulas for proof. This book will be used in its entirety to back up recycling facts used in writing the recycling commentary.
Lave, Lester B. et al. “Municipal Solid Waste Recycling Issues.” Journal of Environmental Engineering (Oct 1999): 944-48. EBSCO: Academic Search Elite. 14 Oct. 2008 .
The Journal entry is a valid study of economics and recycling policy in the U.S. and the ability of recycling to be a self sustained industry and why it currently is not so. This resource bases its conclusions on research into the economics of recycling with a mathematical approach to its successes and failures.
The Journal of Environmental Engineering is a credible resource available to researchers of with a need for information on engineering responsibly for the future. This particular journal entry covers several angles of recycling and the reasons why it is not a profitable or highly sought after industry, and why the recycling industry is a long way from being one that will be heavily invested in anytime in the foreseeable future, however two stand out as being the biggest hurdles in the capitalistic environment of profit and loses. The first of these two is the fact that the disposal of waste into a landfill is still the most affordable way to rid ourselves of the things we no longer find useful. The second main point is that it is still cheaper to obtain the resources from the original source than it is to get them from recycling in almost every case with the exception of aluminum and steel. Keeping this in mind it is understandable the aluminum can recycling is one of the most common forms of fore putting waste in the landfill recycling and has been in practice for the longest period of time. Automobile recycling has also been around for some time and accounts for a large portion of the resources needed to provide new steel products to consumers, even though less and less steel is being used to manufacture goods of any kind today. Eighty percent of the products made from steel in the U.S. today come from recycled steel.
The statement made in this journal do not leave the reader feeling encouraged about recycling efforts increasing to a larger degree in the near future because it just can’t make money until natural resources dwindle to the point that they become more expensive to get them from their natural source than from recycling. The recycling effort in a state like North Dakota is not going to increase because population is so minimal compared to other regions that it will be far in the future due to the inexpensive use of land for landfills that this state has plenty of.
Isely, Paul and Aaron Lowen. “Price and Substitution in Residential Solid Waste.” Contemporary Economic Policy 25.3 (2007): 433-43. EBSCO: Academic Search Elite.14 Oct. 2008 .
The journal entry is based in the economics of a variety of waste disposal and is a reliable source for the costs involved in waste disposal and the costs involved by making mathematical calculations to disposal of different types without stating which combination is the best. Simply stated the money involved in waste disposal of various types is the only focus of this article.
The information in this resource is directed at landfill costs and how much money per ton the case study landfill charges per ton of waste, how much additional tonnage can be disposed of and the increased amount of waste an increase in fees can accommodate for future needs. The costs for landfill disposal are broken down into the smallest conceivable variable from fuel charges for pickup vehicles to labor involved in employing workers at every stage of disposal. The breakdown and formulas used to figure the cost of disposal are explained so that any future changes in costs such as increased expense of things such as fuel for example can be figured into the updated cost analysis.
The information is useful in breaking down the costs involved with waste disposal and the degree of exactness the study was conducted is amazing. Waste disposal was researched for several years and measure the weight of disposal in tons and even took into account seasonal changes in temperature and moister from precipitation that could be absorbed into waste before the weight was taken before disposal. It appears that no detail was overlooked in this particular study and should come in handy when straight forward hard facts are need to backup points on amounts of actual waste being disposed of compared to amounts recycled.
Household Recycling: Examples of How to Successfully Reduce Landfill Disposal
By now most people are aware that paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass are everyday materials that play a part in almost everything Americans consume. Whether it is as common as the aluminum can that contains a popular soda, to the plastic water bottles that line the coolers of every convenience store; and these items are piling up in our landfills, all the while more, unsustainable, raw materials are being depleted to make their replacements. If asked, most people would say that they would like to be more eco-friendly; have a smaller environmental footprint; or in other words, be kind to the earth we all share. What better way to do your part than recycling? You may not save the world from environmental disaster, but it is a start.
Most people are familiar with the three arrows that form a flowing, and never ending triangle; this is the symbol for recycling, or a product that is recyclable, will have the symbol located on it. Unfortunately, most products that have this symbol stamped on the bottom, or printed on its side, still end up as waste in the landfill, or city dump. Most people, for certain reasons and sometimes for no reason at all, don’t give recycling much thought. These reasons take a variety of forms; some people feel they don’t have the time recycle, others extra space for recyclables, and even more don’t want to foot the extra cost of recycling. However, some cities are addressing these issues; and in doing so, are finding success in recycling programs that take many different forms, and have been developed through innovative thinking, and accomplishing the ultimate goal of reducing garbage in the landfill.
The first topic of that arises when discussing recycling, is that of the time and inconvenience people often associate with the whole process. Imagine that the local government officials passed a law that required all materials that can be recycled are recycled. If you are caught throwing a plastic bottle into a garbage can, that isn’t specifically for that plastic bottle, and you could be fined $20 dollars every time you were caught, would you continue to through bottles anywhere that was convenient? What if you decided that no one would actually fine you, however, you didn’t see the trash police watching you, and were ticketed, and fined, for your action? Would this be the deterrent to convince you to look for a recycling bin for your plastic bottle next time? This is an unlikely scenario; but what would it really take for this community to eliminate plastic from the local landfill? Maybe just being more informed, and reminded that recycling is a good practice for community participation. A good example of keeping the community informed can be found in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is made apparent through an article written for the Albuquerque Journal, by staff writer Dan McKay. McKay states, “The amount of material recycled through the cities curbside pickup program has increased fifty-one percent over a five-year period, according to figures from the Solid Waste Management Department” (para. 2). He goes on to say, “the city promotes recycling as a way to save space in the landfill, reduce energy consumption and cut methane, a greenhouse gas produced by rotting trash” (para. 4). The information produced by city official, and geared toward the public, seems to be having an effect in this community. An interesting point to this is that the people pay to have their recycle materials picked up at their home; the city provides the bin, while the community provides the time to separate materials.
Time and inconvenience can be overcome, with an informed, caring community behind the recycling effort. What if the community is interested in recycling; however, there just isn’t an available facility to properly process the recycled material? Options are available for the communities that would like to make a serious effort toward increasing recycled materials, and reducing landfill disposal of garbage. One way to do this would require the community to have holding space for recycled materials; then ship them out periodically to facilities that can handle the materials. This could mean shipping material long distances, which would make it more expensive than many communities would care to spend for waste disposal. Another option would be to build a recycling center in the area, and possibly taking in materials from neighboring communities, in order to make it financially feasible to build and operate. The city of Portland, Maine wanted to increase its recycling efforts; so they took an interesting approach to see to it, that there wouldn’t be any cost to the part of the community that could participate in the program. What the city did was to barter a deal that is described in the Portland Press Herald. Tom Bell states in his article, what this deal entailed, “The City Council approved a deal with waste hauler Monday that will give residents free curbside recycling next year” (para. 1). He continue with, “ The 20- year agreement calls for the Casella Waste Systems to provide free recycling services in exchange for the city’s agreement to extend a sewer line on County Road to a site where Casella Plans to build a solid-waste facility” (para. 2). If the community wants to do something bad enough, it appears that thinking outside of the box can work for all parties involved. The Portland deal exemplifies how this thinking can be turned into a win-win situation.
Wilmington, Delaware, a city with a population of roughly 72,000 people, almost exactly the population of this community, has a new option in recycling these days. The recycling solution that Wilmington has been given is the first of its kind in the nation. The approach that they have developed is not only free to the community, but it also rewards the participants with free merchandise. First, it must be clarified that this program has just completed the testing phase, and, is only available in certain areas of the city. The intention is that the success the program has already shown, will continue to allow the program to grow to the entire Wilmington area. The process is very simple, and eliminates many of the issues people associated with the recycling process. Time, space to store the recycled materials, and cost to the household are all addressed with the program. The idea come from the Philadelphia based recycling firm, RecycleBank. The idea was originally tested in two neighborhoods in the Philadelphia, and both are made up of a different demographic group. This is how the program works according to Yepsen, “Make the process easy for residents, where all curbside recyclables are placed in one cart, and offer rewards for participation” (para. 1). This idea is the basic premise to the Wilmington program. Residents are given a container for all types of recyclable materials, which is then brought to the curbside once w eek for pickup. The pickup vehicle weighs the materials, and once a month residents receive a voucher for goods from local retailers. This concept is good for the residents who get rewarded for simply putting their waste into a different receptacle than normal. The retailers are rewarded two fold; one by doing the right thing for the environment by helping to encourage good practices. Second, the retailers are rewarded monetarily by having the community shopping at their location, rather than the competition. This would lead one to believe that many more local retailers would want to participate in the program in order to grow their own businesses. The growth in retailer participation would only lead to growth in the program, with the desired outcome of increased recycling, and less garbage into the local landfill. RecycleBank then processes the recycled materials for resale as secondary material, for use in new products for public consumption. The pilot program increased recycled materials in the test neighborhoods from 30 percent, to an unheard of 90 percent. The success of this program in Wilmington will determine whether or not RecycleBank implements the program in other area of the country. If all goes well, this could lead to other copycat companies following in RecycleBank’s example, which could slowly increase recycling nationwide. Once in a while the recycling effort is not desired by elected officials for different reasons. St Petersburg, Florida is one such city, however, has made strides to begin their own program. The St. Petersburg problem highlights an issue that some opponents to recycling programs have come up with. The issue is that garbage trucks haul garbage, and are specialized vehicles; if recycling is to be picked up curbside, new vehicles will have to be purchased. Many feel that adding more vehicles will increase carbon dioxide emissions, which is the case in St. Petersburg. The mayor was opposed to recycling on this basis alone. The problem is solved in two ways, according to Silva, “Possible solutions include planting trees to offset carbon emissions and buying trucks powered by natural gas” (para. 6). This seems to be good news for proponents of having a recycling program started in the area. The St. Petersburg issue makes one think about the different reason why communities don’t recycle to a higher level. There are certainly bigger issues involved with recycling materials in the capitalistic environment that is America. As mentioned previously; most people would like to recycle more often, and as illustrated there many different ways to go about getting programs going in any community. Sometime it just takes a bit of ingenuity, and thinking outside the box to find what works. Maybe you have asked yourself, what is the biggest reason why recycling isn’t encouraged more frequently, and in a greater number of communities. The answer is simple economics, and the limited profits that come from recycled materials, along with the cost of disposing or recycling. In short, the cost of throwing our plastic bottles in the garbage is cheaper than recycling. This cost could be money spent to have materials picked up curbside, or associated with time to sort, and transport materials to recycling bins. This is the current household recycling process in the Fargo Moorhead area. Both cities offer curbside pickup at a cost to the household, however, the option to deliver goods to a recycling center, or collection bin is another option. Both of these options have a cost to the household that wishes to recycle, but many people still participate in one or the other anyway. Throwing recyclables into the trash and eventually into the landfill is still the most affordable option to practice in this, and other, like, communities nationally. Until materials become less expensive to obtain by recycling, as opposed to producing from raw materials, most communities will struggle to increase recycled material quantities. Until recycling becomes more profitable, recycling will not be a likely approach to lowering landfill deposits. Porter explains, “Whenever recycling provides a net social benefit in comparison with landfilling or incinerating the waste, a working market should send a signal to the household to that effect.” (p.122). This is a direct statement to the process of recycling, no matter the cost, is the least “expensive” route in the long run. Short run profits to firms wont outweigh the long run loses that will arise as raw materials become scarce, and recyclable materials have long ago been sent to the landfill, or the incinerator. This loss of raw materials won’t happen tomorrow, the next day, or even next year; the effects of these raw materials will, someday, have an adverse effect on daily life. We may make advances toward not relying on these raw materials, but will we have learned to use the materials that make up the next generation of products, wisely by reusing them as many times as possible before they too are gone? There are many reasons to recycle; less pollution, leaving a cleaner earth for our children, and sustaining limited resources, are just a few, very good reasons. In the end, the success that each community has with increasing recycled materials, and reducing landfill deposits, will be determined by each in on its own terms. It is inevitably up to the people of the community to determine the right course to take on recycling issues, and even if there is a cost to those households. The right choice should be to leave something for the next generations if possible. Works Cited [brought to this page to save space]
Porter, Richard C. The Economics of Waste. Resources for the Future, 2002 Yepsen, Rhodes. "Encouraging Sustainable Recycling Behavior Through Financial Incentives." BioCycle 1 Dec. 2007: 34-37. ProQuest. 29 Sep. 2008 .
Silva, Cristina. "Recycling Has a New Supporter: The Mayor: The County's Offer of Free Recycling Proves Too Tempting For Mayor Rick Baker to Ignore." St. Petersburg Times. 25 Sep. 2008. ProQuest. 29 Sep. 2008 .
McKay, Dan. "City Sees Recycling Increase: Curbside Service, Awareness Cited as Reasons." Albuquerque Journal. 23 Sep. 2008,C.1. ProQuest. 29 Sept. 2008 .
Bell, Tom. "Westbrook to Get Free Recycling: The Deal With Casella Waste Systems Includes Extending a Sewer Line on County Road." Portland Press Herald. 23 Sep. 2008. ProQuest. 29 Sep. 2008 .
Super Recycling: Going the Distance
Recycling is a topic that is becoming more and more popular in the modern era. If you pay close attention, a person could hear about new efforts, to increase the consumer participation in local recycling programs, daily. Recycling, as most people will agree is an important undertaking that we all should participate in; it could help to improve our environment, and more importantly leave resources for our children, and our children’s, children. There are some out there that would disagree with the need to be more aware, or even care that we are using more and more, in order to maintain our over-consuming lifestyle. Over-consuming; to consume; consumer, these are all interesting label we put on ourselves. We have given ourselves the label of consumer; but do we even think of ourselves as consumers I wonder? I have heard this label on the nightly news more times than I can count, however I have not identified myself as a consumer; even though that is exactly what I am, and there are people trying to see to it that I remain in that role. Buy stuff, use it (or don’t), throw out the trash and buy more. That is the new definition of patriotism; I wonder if I am a good American for helping the economy chug along? These are the thoughts I was having the day that I decided that recycling was going to be more important in my life. I have worked hard at my career for over seventeen years of my life. I worked for a number of reasons in my career in restaurant management, and was motivated by just as many reasons to be successful at my job. The reason I worked hard was to advance to a higher level, and make more money, so I could buy more things, so I could consume. Damn, was I patriotic, I should have been given a metal for my contributions to America.
Another reason I worked hard was that frankly I truly enjoyed my job. I could never sit behind a desk, or in an office doing the same repetitive thing day after day. “Hey, Rob, do you have that TPS report for me yet?” I just couldn’t do it. I worked bagging groceries at Von’s for the well-to-do in the desert of Palm Springs, California. I hated it. Bulky items on the bottom, bread on the top; you don’t want to squish the over accessorized ladies bread, that could get me in some serious bag boy trouble. It didn’t take me long to go to work for my Grandfather, digging holes with the guys that worked for his landscaping business. I knew at an early age there was not going to be a desk job in my future.
The restaurant might as well have had a flypaper floor; I was stuck, and didn’t care. I was 21 and going to college at North Dakota State University, and had always thought that a gig bartending would be a great way to make money while I was attending school. I was right, the money was good, but more importantly I advanced quickly, and before I really knew what was happening, I was advancing to higher and higher levels of management. Did I mention that my salary was increasing rapidly as well; I figured out quickly that my services would be desired by many restaurants willing to pay for them. I did this for seventeen years, and climbed the ladder of success which brought me more money, and more importantly allowed me to consume. I purchased things I thought I needed, and thought about where I was going to take my fiancée on vacation to next time I could get away from my work. I loved doing what I did for a living, and never found it boring? This was how I defined myself. There is so much energy put into getting something that has a perceived value to people; wouldn’t recycling aluminum make more sense to do? Even if using energy for a more noble cause was the result. Maybe the same can be said for the life that individuals choose to live; a lot of energy being used to obtain something of a high, perceived value. Seventeen years of burning energy to obtain things of perceived value was enough for me, happiness was always the next purchase away, and the purchase that I had just made had only brought brief happiness. The money, (as I mentioned), was rolling in, but not without a price of its own. My work week consumed my life. My home, with all the things I had bought to make me happy in the “consumer” sense of happiness, wasn’t where I spent my days. My life for six days of the week was on the open roads of the North Dakota prairie. I wasn’t even playing with my toys I had worked so hard to buy, or spending time with my family whom I made purchases for so they could have all the things society says they should have. It’s funny how something that you see every day, and that someone may not even think twice about, can change the source of a life forever. In my case it was a garbage dumpster full of, garbage. What else would I expect to see in the dumpster? I had arrived at work one September morning, and my thoughts at the time were on the business the college kids were bringing in now that school was back in session. As I walked through the back gate that was my only way into the restaurants this time of day, I noticed that one of the garbage dumpsters was full to the point of spilling on to the ground. No big deal, it was a busy Friday night, and we did a lot of business that evening as expected. The problem that I was hit upside the head with was that the dumpsters were picked up the morning before this one. I suddenly, for no particular reason felt embarrassed for having a part in this. If this garbage was the byproduct of making money for the shareholders, then it was part of the cost of doing business. If this was the cost of doing business, then I was partly responsible for its being here. I served only one purpose to my employer, this was to increase top line sales, which would increase profits, and sadly increase this mountain of toxic waste that I was now staring at. I suddenly didn’t want to start my day. I just wanted to go back to bed; I realized this was going to be a long day. Recycling is important in our world today; we need to understand the importance to conserving resources for future generations. We need to learn how to reuse materials of value to us in order to have something of value in the future. I was away from home for another day before I had to make the long trip from Minot, North Dakota to Fargo. If you ever have the opportunity to make this drive, pass it up. Needless to say, there is time to think quite thoroughly about anything that is one your mind at the time. My mind was consumed by garbage. I really need to start recycling at home; at least there I can make some sort of difference in what I had decided were evil ways. I was disgusted with the amount of trash that I was producing in order to consume, and when I thought of the amount that was produced by that one restaurant in a year’s time made me down right depressed. I was in charge of five restaurants at this time; my guilty feelings were consuming me on my five hour drive home to my toys. It is a shame that it is economically impossible for a business that produces as much waste, as a restaurant does, to recycle for the better of everyone. It didn’t take me long after arriving home to start recycling; however, my fiancée doesn’t seem to think of my upcoming decision as recycling. She sees it as the day her passport became useless. I had spent too much energy wasting too many resources for nothing of any particular value, now maybe I could make up for crimes of nature. I had decided to start the biggest recycling project I could think of, I was going to recycle my life. My career was not making me happy, my stuff was just stuff, and I couldn’t purchase anymore temporary happiness. I was going to quit my job and go back to NDSU, where it all started some seventeen years earlier. I was going to choose a career that I could be proud to have. I was for certain not going to be sitting behind a desk; I still don’t have the fortitude for that kind of work, but maybe I can make a difference. The day that I called a meeting with my boss was filled with mixed feelings. I was nervous to tell him I was going to quit, in order to return to school; at the same time I was excited about realizing that I wanted to go back to school, even though my salary, and lifestyle, was about to dramatically change. I arrived at my meeting on October 1st. Just two weeks after staring at the dumpster behind a Minot restaurant. The morning was sunny and my spirits were high, I was walking quickly toward the headquarters in St. Cloud, MN. I was greeted almost immediately by my employer as I entered the building. His name is Rich, and he is a big fan of hunting. He comes from a family that is fond of deer hunting, fishing, and most things outdoors, he also was given his jobs and ownership in the business from his father. He has been given many things without having to earn much of it, his spoiled attitude shows this. The owner, Rich, likes things to go his way. Boy was I about to disappointment to him today. We are on our way to sit in the meeting area, at a table much too large for just two individuals, but at least there is plenty of space between us if he should feel the urge to come over the table at me, I think this to myself jokingly to releases some internal tension. I can feel my lips curl into a mischievous smile at the thought of t. Short and sweet, I think to myself, just before the words, “So, what’s up?”, come from my boss. Just keep this short and sweet and get right to the point, this is the best way to do this. I am thinking to myself as the words, “I am giving notice”, come from me. The weight of the world feels like it has just been lifted from my shoulders with these words. I am free. I can see the blood rush to his cheeks, and see that he might like to burst, but he keeps his cool. Inside I knew he would give his best, entrepreneur foot forward. He asks me why and where I plan on going. I tell him I am burnt out on the restaurant industry, and since I have limited skills, I am going to go back to school and pursue a different course with my life. Surprisingly enough, he thanks me for building the most successful five restaurants out of the fifteen he has ownership of, and wishes me luck. Not so surprisingly he then asks for my keys to the restaurant, and informs me that I will be paid for the next three weeks, and that my resignation is effective immediately. I don’t even flinch, this is how I expected my day to go, and in my position when you give notice you can be pretty sure it will be your last day with that company. Aluminum takes a large amount of energy to become useful, and recycling can extend its life and make better use of the energy expended on its creation. A lot of energy can go into making a career as well; sometimes it may take a recycling effort to make the energy expended on this venture worthwhile too. My new career, after graduation is going to focus on eliminating wasted resources instead of creating waste. I have recycled my life and will make use of my old career to make my next one more valuable. It’s important for our society to increase their recycling efforts whenever they can, even if it is recycling behaviors that have been wasted, in order to allow our children and their children to prosper and find happiness.