SCI 201 Recycling


SCI 201: Ecology and Environmental Sustainability

Argosy University

The city of Fredericksburg, Virginia has a population of just over 28,000 people. A number that has been steadily inclining over the past decade (US Census Bureau, 2015). The townhome community in which I live in probably accounts for about a hundred and fifty of that 28,000. With about 62 townhomes in my community, this averages out to about two and a half people per household. That number may be three to four people per household as some of the townhomes are vacant

Country Waste is the most common used trash company in my community while there are some household who are using Curbside Manner as their trash company. While most of this community does recycle to include myself, it’s hard to get an accurate number of all the recyclables by my community. This is due to the fact that Country Waste throws both trash and recycle in the same garbage truck. I don’t believe this how they normally operate and it could just be due to lazy crew grabbing the trash in the mornings but this is how it’s been over the past month or two. Its normally they come for trash in the morning and recycle in the afternoon. Maybe the driver wants to avoid double trips.

My recycle can hold about four or five, thirteen gallon bags worth of recyclables compare to about seven or eight bags of trash. Recycle is picked up only once a week. If the occupied townhomes in my community were to compile four or five, 13 gallon bags of recycle, which would equate to 2,600 to 3,200 of recyclable a week. That than equals between 10,400 to 12,800 gallons of recyclables a month and between 124,800to 153,600 ayear.

I’ll admit that I was not one to constantly recycle. This is for many reasons. First, when I was station in San Diego, California I found out I could be paid for my recyclables. There are several waste dump sitesall over San Diego in which I could bring my recyclables there and get paid for them. You simply bag all plastic bottles together, glass bottles together, and cans together and any other recycle together but it on a scale to be weighted and you get paid based of its weight. People would try and put something like a brick in their bagged items to make it weight more but companies caught on to people’s schemes. I myself have tried to make my bags seem heavier. All in all, while I was in California I had an incentive to want to recycle. It was worth it to recycle, especially when my military friends and I would get together and drink. Upon moving to Virginia I continued to recycle with the expectation that I would be able to be paid for my recycles here. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I assumed that if I could be paid for my recyclables in California it would be the same in Virginia. After realizing I wouldn’t get paid for my recycle I didn’t pay attention to where I was putting my recycle. Often times I would just put it in with the regular trash. Now, with noticing that Country Waste is mixing recycle with regular trash, it feels pointless to recycle anyways. But as I collected my recyclables over the past few weeks, I was surprised to see that the majority if not all my neighbor consistently and constantly recycle. For whatever reason, I assume that most people were like me and throw there recyclable in with regular trash. I am very surprised to say that my community recycles enough if not more than enough.

The United States Government does not have any laws in place that require people to recycle. However, some state to include; California, Delaware, New York, and Vermont, offer a small refund for recycling. I feel that every state should allow this. If the US Government implemented a law for citizens to receive a small refund for their recyclables, I think it would not only help clean up the United States. There are many commercials on television and post all over social media platforms that talk of going green and cleaning up the Earth. With a refund for recycling, it gives people an incentive to recycle. This will also have an indirect effect on “going green.”While people will just see the recycling as a way to put an extra five dollar in their pocket, they’ll also be cleaning up the environment in which they live by not just throwing beer bottles and soda bottles in regular or on the side of the street. Lastly, I feel that a small refund for recycling could also help the economy. If a customer were to buy a 12 pack of beer twice a month for $15 each. Then said customer recycles the 24 bottles at the end of the month and makes a five dollar profit. That’s five dollar this customer didn’t have before. It’s now five dollar this customer can spend on more beer probably, but regardless of what this customer spends the five dollars on, its five dollar back into the economy. I think it’s beneficial to not only the customer but also the US economy. Does this solve the economic problems in the US, no, but it’s a help solution and a good startingpoint.

Different recyclable material such as plastic or cans, are reused in different ways. Plastic is non-biodegradable due to its very complex molecular structure. When recycled, it is made into a new form. This means that plastic bottles such as soda bottles milk bottles, are not made into new soda or milk bottles. The process to reuse plastic recyclables starts with assortment of the plastics by color. Once separated, the plastic is then shredded. Next the shredded fragments go through a process to remove any impurities then then the plastic is melted into pellets to be manufactured into new material. Other processes for reusing plastic are thermal depolymerization and heat compression. Recycled paper is taken to a recycle plant where it is separated by types and grades. The separated paper is the washed with soapy water to get rid of ink, color, glue, staples and any other substance or material from the paper. The paper is then place in a large holder containing water to make slurry. Slurry is defined as fine particles of manure, cement, or coal suspended in water. From here the slurry can be made into newsprints, cardboard, and new paper.The process to reuse recycled glass bottles is simple. Once recycled, the glass bottles are sorted by color then wash to wash away any impurities. The glass bottles are then crushed, melted, then mold into new glass bottles, jars or other products.

The impact of recycling is extraordinary and simple at the same time. A Simple way of help the environment and earth is by just simply recycling. This will reduce waste that bill up in landfills. Not littering both trash and recyclables can end waste from polluting our fresh water streams, lakes and oceans. The process of recycling could decrease the size of landfills which will help decrease pollution, poisoning and health problem. Recycling can also help preserve the natural renewable resources the earth has today. Car tires, junk car metal, glass bottles are all recyclable material that isn’t easy to come by. Recycling these materials helps produce more and more of these product to help or daily lives. It shouldn’t be taken for granted, as it allow these recyclables to be used over and over again. This helps conserve natural resources like water gas and oil. If the US Government implicates a refund for recycling it will open up a new job market or add to an already open job market. If more andmore recycle location are open for the public to bring their recyclables it would open more jobs which would help boost the US economy. Recycling would help reduce the consumption of water and air pollution. This would help reduce greenhouse gas mission. All in all, recycle has a great effect on the earth. Proper recycling can only better the world we live in today.


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