Term Paper: Recycling and Trash Collection

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[. . .] The taxes help much to pay the recycling expenses.

As a matter of fact, although recycling seemed to be a new solution for the country, Kirby (2002, par. 11-12) reported that England is left behind for its attentiveness in responding to the waste problem than its neighboring European countries. From 80% of recyclable waste that the country produces every year, only 11% is processed as should be, through material recovery. Compared to Germany and Austria, which commonly gain high number in recycling (48% and 64%), England should work better to avoid late consequences it may be compensated in the future from environmental and economic risks.

What had happened fact however becomes England's lesson to set better policy and develop more recycling facilities. One successful example of recycling in the UK happened in Northamptonshire. Together with the Waste Watch organization, the District Council launched intensive campaigns in 1998-1999. The public campaigns then accompanied with trial mode trash collection service for more than 5000 houses. The service provided them with weekly organic waste collection and another weekly "dry recyclables" collection. It was a very helpful service, as by using the assistance, the district authorities and the Waste Watch taught the public about recycling, through the accompanying hotline, flyers, home visits, and another information media. The ongoing exposure gave the people easy and comfortable way to learn. For a year, gradually people did it by themselves, to transfer the daily refuse disposal to a new recycling habit.

In the end of the trial, they filled inputs and feedback to the committee for further program development in another area and the improvement in the communication techniques. As the result, the recycling rate increased from the ordinary 12% to 51% within a year (Pellaumail, K. 2001).

C. The United States

With its large population, the U.S. tends to produce a huge amount of trash every year. Goldstein, N. And Madtes, C. (2000) compiled the research result of the garbage status in the U.S. From the 2001 result of BioCycle State of Garbage in America survey, about 409,029,000 tons of municipal solid waste piled up in the U.S. In 2000. Previously, according to the 2000 State of Garbage report, the amount of garbage was 7% less.

Just like in other region, landfills were the main choice to be the final disposal. They probably are still the favorite for its convenience. In fact, not all community members care much about it.

In 1996, about 55% of the garbage was processed to the landfills (The Council for Environmental Quality (1997), cited in Themelis, 2002). However, as many environmental concerns are piling up against landfill use, the government decides to terminate landfills use within two decades. More than 6000 landfills were active in 1986 itself, and the Environment Protection Agency had started working towards finding and promoting the more effective use of recycling and incineration to substitute the landfill function in the future.

Along with the program, curbside-recycling system has been helping recent communities in many states. The Curbside Programs in 2000 have involved and served 133,165,000 people or around 60% of the citizens.

Americans are used to sorting trash into different colored containers, which are processed afterwards by recycling or composting. In some cities like in Florida region, they can also use the collecting machine facility that is available in supermarkets. Some products also require the consumers to pay bottle fee for beverages for the bottle waste.

About thirty states in the U.S. have followed the drop off and pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program, just like in Japan, while 27 states reported to apply PAYT program in various prices. PAYT is a promising choice, according to some of the State of The Garbage survey respondents. However, only 15 respondents out of 31 answers stated that they believed the PAYT system would ensure the increasing recycling and composting products, rather than leaving the trash decaying in the landfill ground. Many of them still think that this program may add more burdens to the community (Goldstein, N. And Madtes, C., 2000, p. 40).

In big cities like New York, this problem seems to be advancing. According to Themelis (2002), U.S. citizens may produce 0.8 tons of municipal solid waste per capita. However, about 22% of the findings are recycled plastic, metal, paper, and glass products. In New York, about 12,000 metric tons of trash are created every day.

Most of the trash go through selection processes and end up in recycling centers, combustion, and landfills (The Fresh Kills landfill was used to be the end disposal area before it was closed in 2001). The city shares work with private sanitation companies to handle the waste from household and from businesses and institutions. The municipal wastes are collected in three categories: recyclable paper, recyclable metal-glass-plastics, and other wastes, which are placed in different-colored bags.

Recently, recycling only reaches around 16.6% and combustion 12.4%, while the other 71% still takes the landfills. The recycling process itself goes differently for every product. The New York City implements Material Recovery Facility and Waste-to-Energy Facility. The biggest part of the materials is paper and paper products, reaching around 65% of total solid waste. The recyclable paper materials go through the sorting process to sort them out the plastic components. This residue apparently does not end in the paper recycling process, but repacked as another waste product and dumped in the landfills.

Cans, metals and glasses are easier if separated in its process. From this process, small parts of them including plastics and glass may be recovered and reprocessed to make different new products. However, some of the remains of the chemical treatment cannot be saved and often thrown together into the landfills.

Although in the ideal condition such approaches seem to fit the need to free up landfills from future use, some parts of the community do not help the progress of the program, by failing to sort their municipal solid waste into the right bag. It causes the delay in the whole sorting and recycling process, which would take more time to complete and ineffective energy to accomplish the procedures (Themelis, 2002).

Lifestyle, without good care on the side effect of the waste often gives the linear upshot on the number of discarded solid materials to the environment. Practical items that are commonly utilized to save time and space in the modern daily life, sometimes end up in the increasing removal of non-degradable substances into the municipal solid waste disposal.

In the mean time, citizens are used to disposable items for food storage, food serving (paper dishes, paper cups), cleaners, paper products (for example: diapers, paper tray), miscellaneous plastic bags, plastic products for electronics and wrappers for shipping, which they believe to be efficient and safe for home and office use. However, as they believe that such products are safe and recyclable, there is a rise in demand of the products, quite difficult enough for the recycling program to draw alongside. Therefore, Cooper (1998) said that recycling program has been successfully introduced in the U.S., however more trash still comes faster.

Somehow people should try better managing their paper product use. The government and educational institutions need to encourage better utilization to minimize the solid waste as well as to act prudently. For example, in the household level, people do not always have to use paper dishes when there is any chance to employ glass dishes instead, or they can recycle used glass bottles to decorate their houses.

The same principle should also apply for industries and corporation level, since their activities have consumed a high number of paper and plastic products, more than any domestic expenditure. Industries should be aware, as little things count, that even using both sides of the paper do help minimizing the unnecessary waste.

To accomplish this goal, the government may need to order specifically for the general practices in the economic sector. It is essential that people do know what their company have been contributing to the local environment and meet the requirement to follow the environmental alert recommendation from the government or any private inspector. For the maximum result, they could also establish private recycling center in their buildings or infrastructures.

This friendly approach has been implemented in the United States by the official Executive Orders that regulated the "waste prevention and recycling" throughout the country; while at the same time also increase the "markets for recovered materials." It is expected that the policy will help expanding the room for environment recovery where there are also early steps to avoid the waste problem itself by encouraging the involved parties to directly contribute their effort to manage their waste (Mohninger, 1999).

As the direct result of the encouragement, the U.S. government reportedly had opened public minds to establish recyclable product market, for various reasons such as hygienic, environmental, and economic motivation. Besides cutting the cost for post-treatment of the solid waste management, like decreasing the number of landfills, it also gives the community new business opportunities… [END OF PREVIEW]

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