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Pros and Cons of Mandatory Recycling

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While many people recycle, others wonder, why is it important to recycle? It is important to recycle because “It makes a huge difference to our environment, our quality of life, and our country’s future” (“Frequently”). The best way to make a difference in the world is to recycle. While many people in the United States support recycling, only a few people actually recycle. If recycling were to become mandatory in the United States, we would be able to help reduce climate change and help save marine life in the ocean.

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Climate change has been a big controversy for many years. One of the leading factors towards climate change is the amount of trash in landfills. “This garbage, the solid waste stream, goes mostly to landfills, where it’s compacted and buried. As the waste stream continues to grow, so will the pressures on our landfills, our resources, and our environment.” (“Frequently”). Since the landfill is compacted, once it reaches its maximum capacity, there is no oxygen to help it decompose. Due to the lack of oxygen, bacteria in the trash produces methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas. A greenhouse gas is a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect, the process by which radiation from the earth’s atmosphere warms the surface of the planet. Recently, there has been too much methane gas and other greenhouse gases contributing to the greenhouse effect. If we were to reduce what we throw away and substitute it for recycling, we would be able to lower the number of gases in the air and help reverse the global warming process.

By recycling, we would also be able to conserve energy, another leading factor in global warming. According to a research study done at Stanford in 2016, “Stanford…saved a total of about 70,481 million BTUs of energy; enough energy to power nearly 613 homes for one year.” (“Frequently”). By recycling, they were able to reduce the amount of energy used to make new products. Recycling products instead of throwing them away reuses materials already made instead of making new materials. Making raw materials from scratch can be very costly when you take into account how much tools, machines, and labor can be. Reusing and recycling items saves money and energy, causing “… fewer fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas…” to be burned and put into the air (“Frequently”). The fossil fuels that are burned into the air cause mass amounts of carbon dioxide, another type of greenhouse gas, to be released. If recycling were to become mandatory in the U.S., we would cut down the amount of money spent on making raw materials, while also reducing the number of fossil fuels we burn.

To help save the planet, we need to save marine life. We need the ocean to be healthy because it makes up the largest ecosystem on our planet. Every day, people are throwing away more plastic that ends up in the ocean, which has over “5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris” in it (Parker). To have a healthy planet means it is necessary to clean up the ocean, and if everyone did their part by recycling, the ocean would be healthy. “Marine debris, unlike global warming, should be an easy thing to deal with…” (Parker). When plastic and other trash gets thrown into the ocean, animals like fish, dolphins, or turtles, often end up eating the plastic and dying. They can choke, have their airways closed, or their bodies simply cannot digest the plastic. If it were mandatory to recycle, we would cut down the amount of plastic and other trash in the ocean, and be able to save marine life.

If recycling were to become mandatory in the United States, we would be able to help reduce climate change and help save marine life in the ocean. It is necessary to recycle to make our futures brighter and improve our quality of life. While the majority of Americans say they support recycling, only a few recycle. The best way to make a difference in the world is to recycle. 

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