Use Me Reuse Me
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Use Me Reuse Me
By Trista L. Pollard
1 In the article, A Mountain of Garbage, you briefly learned about how recycling is one of the methods used for disposing of our solid wastes. Now we will look at how materials are recycled and the impact recycling has on our environment.
2 Each year Americans throw away enormous amounts of metal, glass, and plastic materials. The current estimate is that 50 billion food and drink cans, 27 billion glass bottles and jars, and 65 million plastic and metal jar and can covers are disposed of each year. Even the packaging material for food products, appliances, and other products makes up over 30% of our solid waste. As you know, our solid waste goes to landfills or garbage dumps. This amount equals about 85% of our solid waste. The problem with our waste is that certain materials take an extreme amount of time to decay or decompose. For example, cloth and aluminum may take 100 to 400 years to decompose. The other struggle we have with waste disposal is where to put all of this trash. Now you can see why recycling became a positive solution for handling our growing solid waste problem.
3 Since the mid-1900s, businesses and major industries have recycled some of their materials and resources. During the 1990s, recycling became a regular occurrence in homes around the country. We currently recycle large quantities of our plastics, glass, and paper on a daily basis. We also purchase materials that are made with recycled products. The process for recycling these materials into new products is involved, but worth it.
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