Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And now, a word from our sponsors...

Here is comes: my big plug for recycling.

I have a girlfriend from California who is neurotic about recycling. Joshua and I held a study in her home and when we were eating and laughing she would be furiously gathering the Coke cans together and making sure we didn't throw away any plastic silverware. Somehow I didn't quite understand what I do now.

I live right behind the most ridiculous spectacle on the Eastern Seaboard, a converted landfill that is now a park, and used to list on its website that "people come from all over the world to see this amazing site". Mount Trashmore, is by definition not in fact a mountain, as it only stands at 60 feet above sea level, not the required 2,000 feet, and hosts three vents to allow methane gas to escape from the hill's rotting masses. Rumor states that several years ago, lightning struck one of the vents and started a fire underground. All ridiculousness aside, they are producing it's twin: "MT. II" near my workplace to better utilize the space for the community now that it is covered in rot and ash from a converted Navy trash-to-energy plant.

The earth's resources are quickly be used and abused, as if there was an unlimited sum that we would never achieve. Unfortunately, that is not the case and we are quickly in need of solutions and recycling tops the list. Recycling helps convert used product into able resources so that existing natural resources are not depleted. Here are some examples:
  • 1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
  • 1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
  • 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours. (borrowed from UK Recycling Guide, 2003-2007).
Here are the fast facts about the garbage cans in your home:
  • Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled.
  • The unreleased energy contained in the average dustbin each year could power a television for 5,000 hours.
  • As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted.
  • Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
  • 9 out of 10 people would recycle more if it were made easier. (borrowed from UK Recycling Guide, 2003-2007)
Most people are not aware of the dangers of not choosing to recycle and how much more cost efficient and energy conscious it is to start recycling. For example:
  • Aluminium cans can be recycled and ready to use in just 6 weeks.
  • Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again.
  • Glass that is thrown away and ends up in landfills will never decompose.
  • Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials.
  • Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
  • 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials. (borrowed from UK Recycling Guide, 2003-2007)
The problem lies that most individuals don't know that the available resources are in their hands to take action now and that their action could have dramatic positive results. Turns out, the news isn't all bad, "in 1999, recycling and composting activities prevented about 64 million tons of material from ending up in landfills and incinerators. Today, this country recycles 32% of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years" (Earth 911, 1996-2007). It gets better, "twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 2005, almost 9,000 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation. As of 2005, about 500 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials" (Environmental Protection Agency, 2007).

The truth is, for most Americans, recycling is as easy as sorting your trash while you are in your home and throwing your trash or recyclables in two separate bins. Most cities accommodate for recycling in their trash routes and do not charge citizens for recycling bin pick up. You can contact your local county about issuing you a recycle bin and adding you to the route and you can begin today to start avoiding the start of the new Mount Trashmore: Version 3.0 before the America Recycles Day which is right around the corner.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

...And now to our regularly scheduled program.

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