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The Importance of Recycling in the Fight Against Plastic Pollution

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Table of Contents

  • The Importance of Recycling in Saving Our Home
  • Conclusion
  • References

I am here today to discuss the importance of recycling and also in this essay I will touch on the benefits this has on the world around us. I will be focusing on the effects plastic pollution has on the planet and the importance of recycling. You may be thinking why this subject is important to me? Well, after researching facts about sea turtles I was infuriated by a picture that I came across on a well known social platform. A poor, innocent sea turtle looked in tortuous pain with a plastic straw wedged up its nostril. I understand this picture was taken to show the affects of plastic pollution and this is why I have made a pledge in order to recycle and be kinder to the world.

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The Importance of Recycling in Saving Our Home

To begin, every minute of every day one rubbish truck of plastic enters the world’s oceans, this is 10 percent of landfill, which doesn’t seem a lot however, this equates to 260 million tons of plastic each year. It takes approximately 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down in the ocean; this means that over 90 percent of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs and 80 per cent of plastic in the ocean originated from land. You might be wondering why this matters; it’s only a bird, only a turtle and only the ocean. You don’t have to see it, it isn’t affecting you or what is around you, but you are very much wrong. As a result of this, fish and wild life have become intoxicate, leading to the toxins from the plastics entering the food chain. Consequently, this is threatening human life as we are ingesting contaminated fish and mammals.

Why should we care about the environment? I always believed that dropping rubbish on the floor was ok because a cleaner would come and pick it up, after all that is there job, right? Little did I know at a young naive age it was this that was contributing to the ever evolving climate change and the damage to our world. It wasn’t until searching the internet for turtle pictures and listening to influencers on another popular social platform that I learned that it was this behaviour that was destroying the world around me. My Auntie posed the question to me, “Naomi, how would you feel if your children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren never knew what a sea turtle was or a penguin because they are extinct because of you dropping litter on the floor.” It was at this moment I instantly felt guilty. I now know that the environment plays an important part in supporting humans to survive as it provides air, food and many other needs and humanities entire life depends on the well-being of all factors of the environment.

After this you may be thinking, what can we do to help the environment, stop plastic from entering our oceans and care for the wildlife around us? Well, many years ago the milk we drink was delivered by a milk man. I only know this because my Uncle’s Dad used to be a milkman, who drove around on his float picking up the bottles and delivering fresh milk on people’s doorsteps. These were no plastic bottles, which are destroying our oceans, they were glass bottles. These glass bottles were taken and sterilised and reused, so why did we stop? Why can we not go back to using recyclable glass bottles? The first reason was the danger behind smashed glass, if a child or adult dropped the bottle it would smash and this could cause serious harm, another reason is that glass bottles are a lot heavier than plastic and this would add cost to shipping and delivery rates. On the other hand, milk in a glass bottle tastes fresher, it stays colder for longer and it doesn’t impact the taste of the milk, don’t just take my word for it ask your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles I am sure they will know. A glass of cold milk is visually more appealing that a plastic bottle of milk, you can see the white goodness floating around and feel the coolness on your hands. Another good thing about glass bottles they are recyclable, you don’t need to give them back to the milkmen but you can reuse them for food ingredients, planting in your garden or even candle holders. This proves the point that glass is the way forward, it doesn’t affect the environment, it leave less of a carbon footprint and that is why I say bring back the glass bottle and make the change.

Furthermore, I understand that some of you may disagree with me, at the end of the day plastic is more convenient, cheaper and easier to produce. We have used plastic for many years, it is made from natural materials such as coal, natural gas, minerals and crude oil and the very first plastics were made by nature itself from a rubber tree. Yes, plastic is biodegradable and can degrade in different conditions such as water, carbon dioxide and biomass, however this all takes time. Time, time is not something we have.

Conclusion

To conclude, plastic may be convenient and cheaper but it is having an expensive impact on the world around us. Nature is disappearing before our eyes; plastic is destroying our oceans and even contaminating us. If there is one thing I would like you to take from this discussion that is to think. Think about where you put your rubbish, what type of bottle you use and where your item may end up. Will you continue to devastate the oceans and slaughter the innocent sea turtles by hanging it with plastic string or choking it with a bottle lid or will you make the change and make this world greener and a better place to live. For me, I am making the change and making myself a better person in the process. Don’t let the next generation pay the price of the mistakes we make today. Be the change, be the reason nature survives. Thank you.  

References

  1. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). Benefits of Recycling. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics

  2. The Balance Small Business. (2021). The Importance of Recycling. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/the-importance-of-recycling-4057987

  3. Ghinea, C., Istrate, I. A., & Teodorescu, Ş. E. (2019). Environmental Impact of Recycling: A Review. Sustainability, 11(23), 6673.

  4. United Nations Environment Programme. (2019). Global Environment Outlook 6: Healthy Planet, Healthy People. Retrieved from https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/global-environment-outlook-6

  5. McKinney, M. L. (2008). Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biological Conservation, 127(3), 247-260.

  6. Ongondo, F. O., Williams, I. D., & Cherrett, T. J. (2011). How are WEEE doing? A global review of the management of electrical and electronic wastes. Waste Management, 31(4), 714-730.

  7. USEPA. (2016). Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2015 Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/smm/advancing-sustainable-materials-management-facts-and-figures-report

  8. Burn, S., & Klemes, J. J. (2006). Energy savings by waste recycling: Case study of the UK. Energy, 31(6-7), 1086-1097.

  9. Wilson, D. C., Velis, C., & Cheeseman, C. (2006). Role of informal sector recycling in waste management in developing countries. Habitat International, 30(4), 797-808.

  10. Chancerel, P., & Rotter, V. S. (2009). Assessment of the cost of incineration and landfilling in three EU member states. Waste Management, 29(4), 927-934.

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