Recycling Essay, Research Paper
Raising Levels of Recycling
Recycling involves using materials which are at the end of their useful lives as the feedstocks for the manufacture of new products. The keys to improve participation in recycling are to either make recycling easier, to increase the reward for recycling (or the negative consequences of not recycling), or both.
Deposits on beverage bottles can be thought of as a powerful monetary incentive for engaging in recycling. The five or ten cents per container is successful in achieving the return of the majority of containers.
Drop-off programs would be more effective with other types of rewards, such as raffles, contests, and prizes, in order to promote participation in recycling. Adequate publicity and education is very important for both drop-off and pickup programs, as is community involvement in the program. As an additional incentive for consumer participation, the drop-off centers could be set up as theme parks to make recycling fun. Circus themes would be popular, along with riverboats, railroads, and mining camps. The emphasis would be to make the recycling centers clean, efficient, and family oriented.
Curbside pickup programs is another means of increasing the level of recycling. Curbside pickup could be more effective if the program offered weekly collections rather than monthly ones and also by having the collection of recyclables on the same day as normal garbage pickup. I think that it is necessary to keep the recycling containers (Blue Boxes) to maintain the participation of recycling. The containers provide two functions, especially if they are bright and easily visible; they provide convenience in storing separated recyclables and they facilitate peer pressure to reinforce recycling behaviour (if your container is not at the curb, all your neighbours will know you are not recycling).
Making recycling mandatory rather than voluntary would raise the amount of participation. If recycling was mandated by law, failure to participate in recycling would result is either no garbage pickup, or in a fine or other legal action.
Along with these suggestions to improve recycling, there would be a few barriers to overcome. Economic/financial barriers include lack of financial incentives, lack of research and development expenditures, and the vertical integration of industries which favours use of company-controlled virgin resources. Barriers relating to the general public include lack of awareness, indifference, inconvenience, the feeling that an individual’s activities have no real impact, and attitudes which look for a “technological fix” rather than lifestyle changes. Market barriers include product design which inhibits recycling, lack of both consistent and reliable supply and demand for material. The most significant barrier is the attitude of some governments. Positive trends include the growth of pro-recycling lobbies and growth of financial incentives and industrial markets.
In conclusion, recycling must be part of any national environmental protection policy. Recycling is a management option as an alternative to disposal, with apparently net positive benefits. Recycling reduces the amount of solid wastes that has to be disposed by a sanitary landfill. From this discussion, it can be argued that the more convenient recycling is made for people, the higher the participation will be; similarly, the higher the motivation (reward) for participating in recycling, the higher the participation.