What The Recycling Crisis Means
Politics and Activism

You May Need To Stop Recycling

Local recycling programs are coming to an end and that is spelling disaster for our world.

22
https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-hands-on-assorted-color-plastic-lid-lot-761297/

At the beginning of last year, China stopped accepting a large amount of the recycling imports that they used to. What does this mean for us? Since the early '90s, China has been buying up recyclable materials from countries around the world and has been using cheap labor to sort the recycled material and then use the plastics to make cheap exports as a way to bring more money into the country.

However, over the past nearly 2 decades, this process has contributed large amounts of pollution to the country. This dangerous pollution is what has forced the country to cut back on their recycling programs. There was a large number of non-recyclable materials making their way overseas and to these plants. Since the plants cannot make any money off of these products, they began to get mad at the number of non-recyclables they had. Other non-recyclables also made their way to water streams and local canyons, adding more pollution to the country.

With the U.S. no longer able to ship their recycled trash to China, they began looking elsewhere. For a while, the U.S. relied on other eastern countries, like Malaysia and Thailand, but those countries have also cut back on the number of exports they receive.

This is what has led to the current recycling crisis here in the United States. This crisis has been widespread and dramatic, but most citizens are just now hearing of its effects. Many states are having to pay for their recycling plants to keep running, something that once brought them profit as Chinese companies were paying them for their plastic. Some states just don't have the money to keep their plants running and have started to dump people's curbside recycling into landfills with regular garbage. Most states have had to remove mixed paper and plastics from their lists of recyclable materials. This list shows how each state is being affected and what can or is being done to help fix it.

The major problem with this crisis, and what has really led to it being a crisis is how long states and counties tried to hide it from citizens. For example, in Alabama, one of the largest collectors of recyclables, Tarpon Paper, had stopped accepting recyclables because they were not able to sell it and turn a profit, however, citizens were not aware that, for nearly nine months, their recycling had been taken to the landfill.

Many other cities have been doing the same thing and there have even been stories of companies hoarding plastics in warehouses until they can figure out what to do with it.

Here's the big question a lot of people are asking: how can we help?

There is a lot you can do to help this crisis. The first is to figure out if your curbside recycling program is still functioning and whether or not it is properly functioning. Next is to figure out what you can and should actually recycle. There are a lot of things that people hope they can recycle that they actually can't. this includes cardboard boxes that are wrapped in plastic, or plastic shopping bags that tend to wreak havoc on the machinery used in recycling plants.

The biggest thing you can do though is to cut back on the number of materials you use. I know it is said a lot but buying a reusable water bottle is probably the easiest way you can make a big change. It will cut down on the number of plastic bottles you use as well as a number of other single-use items. Taking a reusable water bottle to the gas station will not only reduce the amount of plastic and styrofoam cups that are used but also give you a discount. The same can be said if you bring a reusable travel mug to places like Dunkin'.

Another way is to shop at bring-your-own-container stores. They are few and far between, but can usually be found in bigger and more modern cities. If there's one near you, try checking it out. If there isn't, make sure to bring your own bags to the grocery store. While you can't exactly avoid the packaging of some products, you can avoid the plastic bags at the checkout.

Recycling doesn't stop at grocery shopping, many clothing brands are also starting to jump on the wave and are introducing clothing lines that are made from recycled textiles. Again, these may be harder to find and a bit pricier, but shopping at thrift stores or buying secondhand clothing is also a great way to reduce the number of textiles to go to waste.

The hardest things to avoid are the packaging that our everyday items come in. This is not determined by the consumer but by the corporation. The best way to combat this is to demand change. Let companies know that they can not continue to produce harmful plastic waste without consequence. Demand change.

While every little thing someone does makes a difference, the biggest thing you can do is educate yourself. Make sure to pay attention to what is going on with your local communities and the world around you and make sure you know how you can do your part to help.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments