According to a New York Times piece that was published in December,
2008, the United States' economic downturn has had a tremendous, negative effect
on the market for recycled materials like plastic, cardboard, metals, and
newspapers. This is due to the fact that items such as cardboard are turned into
boxes that package new goods, and metal is made into car parts.
slowing in the economy and production down, there's no need for scrap. As a
result, trash is piling up in the warehouses of recycling contractors. Many
recycling centers have stopped accepting certain materials, so the main solution
to the disposal problem is to truck items to the landfill. If prices for scrap
continue to be low, more and more solid waste management facilities will be
forced out of the recycling business.
What Can One Person Do?
While the three Rs used to stand for reading,
'riting, and 'rithmetic, today they refer to ways we can manage solid waste. We
like to add a fourth “R,” so our list, in the preferred order of handling solid
waste, reads like this: rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle.
think of recycling as the main solution to the problem, but it's really the
least desirable of the ways to manage solid waste. This is because recycling
uses energy and natural resources to make new products.
The best method
of managing solid waste is to rethink purchases. If you buy fewer things, there
obviously will be less trash. The next way you can help control solid waste is
to reduce consumption. For example, when making a small purchase at a store, you
can ask the clerk to not bag the item, and just give you the receipt.
Reuse is the third most desirable way to manage solid waste. As you
can see by glancing at the long list of items in The Trash Matcher, art
activities featured at The Imagination Factory involve reuse. Finally, we come
to recycling, and while it's the least efficient way to manage solid waste, it
still beats burying stuff in the landfill.
So, you see, even though
recycling has fallen on hard times, there are still plenty of things you can do
to help save energy, precious natural resources, and landfill space. Remember,
rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle, in that order.