Another plastic soda bottle is dropped in a landfill. The sugary liquid completely consumed, but the bottle just tossed away to decompose. The consumer does not realize that it will most likely take around 450 years for that bottle to completely biodegrade (O’Conner). This one bottle alone will also contribute to the landfill’s emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas (Treacy). All of this could have easily been avoided using one method—recycling.
Recycling should be common practice in every household, but the simple truth is that people do not want to recycle. The popular excuses include there is no need or not enough time. It is important for the government to take action using education in schools, money incentives, and steps toward convenience that will motivate the average American to recycle.
The problem is that only thirty percent of recyclable material is actually recycled (11 Facts). It is obvious that the need for recycling is not recognizable by most people. This need is clearly seen when looking at the environmental problems currently facing society today. Global warming is the biggest issue that can be partially alleviated by recycling. Global warming is caused by the increase in atmospheric gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide; these “greenhouse gases” trap heat on Earth and increase the temperature globally (Global). Plastic created without the use of recycled material uses fossil fuels, which significantly increase the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (Global). Plastic that is not recycled and left to biodegrade in a landfill contributes to the already over concentrated amount of methane in the atmosphere (Treacy). Therefore, it is easily seen that recycling holds a worthwhile benefit to the issue of global warming.
This benefit should be widely known all people. A good start would be educating children on recycling. Every state should have educational standards in the schools that include recycling education. Florida does not have a science common core standard for third, fourth, or fifth grade that touches on the subjects of recycling, global warming, or air pollution (CPalms). The education of students on this matter is solely up to the teacher’s discretion and the education received at home. This is simply not enough. Standards should be set by the state education department that require educators to teach about the benefits of recycling. This act would hopefully raise children who are more apt to recycle as adults.
Some measures have already been taken to encourage recycling. One is the California Refund Value Program (CRV). The CRV program provides a small money incentive for recycling certain plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers to local centers. This program has resulted in nearly eighty percent of bought CRV eligible beverages recycled every year, but it only applies to beverage containers (Beverage). The idea of a money incentive could be applied to other recyclable...