Recycling bins have been placed in my school, and we save some materials because of them. There are also recycling centers in my city, but there aren’t enough places to recycle. You should be able to do it almost everywhere!
You like living on earth, don’t you? Did you know that the average American uses 580 pounds of paper a year? That’s 67 million tons of paper per year, and paper products are 40% of our trash. That means we’re using a lot of other resources, too. If we consume materials without reusing them, we will run out of resources. What would happen then?
Do you want what is available today to be around in 20 years? According to a recent report, we are at a consumption overuse of 133% of the earth’s finite resources when judged against the existing population (six and a half billion), our material-using habits and existing technology. That means we’re wasting too much. If we really want to retain what we have, then we better start reusing, reserving and maybe even stop buying items that can’t be recycled. This could make a huge difference, and if we’re to stop making items we don’t really need, that would make a difference too.
Do you want our generation to live in a healthy environment? At the current growth rate, the amount of trash in the future could increase explosively. I want the world to be the same or even better when I’m an adult, not a mess!
Though some people don’t care about our ever-increasing amount of trash, we must help them realize how important it is to address this. You could educate others by explaining why we need to recycle.
One question is the cost. Although recycling might be expensive in some areas, can you really put a price on the world and its people? Do you really care about the price when our future could be at stake? If you can deal with barely being able to breath because of so much trash, so be it. But it’s not just your life, you know, it’s billions of others too. And think about what you’re saving by recycling: 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil and 7,000 gallons of water with each ton of recycled paper! Making recycled paper instead of new paper uses 64% less energy and 58% less water.
All I’m asking is that you set up some recycling bins around your park, and possibly provide more trash bins. How hard could that be? I would also ask that every three to six months, you dedicate a weekend to cleaning a park. It’s not hard. Put on gloves, get a garbage bag and pick up the trash! Even that can make a difference!
Or would you rather we didn’t have an earth to live on in the future?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.