Each one of the 7 billion people that inhabit the earth produces an average of 4.4 pounds of garbage per day. That number is amplified because the world's population increases by 200,000 every day. There will be a life-threatening effect if those 200,000 people continue the trend of recycling only 30% of all the recyclable materials. It all boils down to putting it in perspective and understanding the root problem.
Creating the tragedy:
The process of assimilation can help one understand the magnitude of the previously mentioned behavior. The assimilation process will be formatted around the day-to-day actions an average person enacts when it comes to trash disposal. The entirety of that process will be demonstrated to highlight the severity of just one wrong act. The first thing to do is to assess the recyclable products that this particular person could use.
The individual could carry out their day in the following way.
Wake up and drink a bottle of water (plastic). Get a bottle of soda when stopping for gas at a gas station (plastic). Purchase two bottles of water, while at work. (glass) Drink 3 beers after getting home from work (glass) Drink a bottle of water before bed (plastic)
That translates to 10 items of trash that are most definitely recyclable. The average individual will only recycle 30% of the recyclables they use. In this scenario, that could be thought of in terms of the two glass water bottles and the plastic soda bottle that was purchased at the gas station. The other seven items were thrown in the regular trash rather than the recycle bins.
The pick up:
The products this individual threw in the garbage sit in the garbage can until trash day. When that day comes the garbage truck picks up the trash bag, which has the recyclables in it. From that point, it is taken to a landfill. Several things can happen to that trash once it is in the landfill. The sad fact is that not a single thing is good for the environment or the longevity of the 7 billion people on the planet.
Option 1: The plastic is burned in an incinerator in order to release one of the most toxic substances (dioxins). The glass is left in the landfill.
Option 2: The plastic combines with rain water to form leachate. That toxic substance proceeds to come into contact with soil and seep deep into the ground. That absolves the soil of its nutrients, which causes plants and trees to be unable to grow in that area. That once again comes back to hurt the human race because that lack of trees causes more CO2 build up. The glass bottles float into a body of water.
Option 3: The rain water or other natural occurrences such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, tropical storms, or unyielding winds cause the glass bottles and plastic bottles to end up in a body of water.
Two of those three options are terrible. Both of them lead to one inhaling more dioxins and CO2. The sad part is that those are relatively minor dangers when they are compared to option 3. When glass and plastic are transferred into an ocean, lake, or river the entirety of the food-chain becomes endangered.That imbalance is a major concern because one extinct species has the potential to make several species extinct. Those eventually end up traveling down the food-chain until reaching the top.
Those bottles that were not recycled could be mistaken for food by birds and aquatic life. That could lead to their death. Just one example can be seen with the albatross species. 200,000 albatross die each year from consuming debris and have an average of 45 pieces of garbage in their digestive tract upon death. Those numbers are continuing to increase because of the Great Pacific Patch.
The great Pacific patch is a well-known area of the ocean that has strong currents. Those currents have managed to pull in a total of 3.5 million tons of trash. That trash is so toxic that it changes the naturally blue water to a bright color. That is what inspires many animals to flock to the location and eat the garbage.That kills more species of fish. However, it does not stop at that point.
Once plastic bottles are exposed to UV rays for extended periods of time they deteriorate, which causes microplastics to form. The Phytoplankton consume those and then the food chain progresses to include zooplankton, herring, tuna, and humans. That means people are eating the tuna that was subject to the toxic food chain transference. Additionally, dolphins, puffin, sharks, and even whales can be impacted from this plastic in the water.
Lastly, a plastic bottle that was not recycled could be eaten by a fish. That fish would contain plastic. If one went fishing in a river, ocean, or stream they could end up eating that fish, which would end up in them ingesting highly toxic chemicals.
The individual that chose not to recycle those seven bottles would have not done so if they had known about all the previously mentioned repercussions. All they had to do is invest a minute or two of their time to find a recycle bin. That would have resulted in the garbage truck picking those seven bottles up and taking them to the MRF. Overall that would have allowed them to be dealt with in a reasonable way. Additionally, substances such as plastic lumber, patio furniture, benches, roadside curbs, and trunk cargo liners, could have been created from those recycled materials.
Defy the norm to end the storm permanently:
At this point, one would have every right to ask the question “why did that person not recycle those objects?” Well, the answer to that can be seen by looking at one of the largest psychological experiments in history. In 1951 an individual named Solomon Asch decided to test his hypothesis regarding conformity. He believed that conformity played such a huge role in society. Asch felt conformity could even allow one to defy their innate tendencies.
The experiment involved randomly assigning 50 college students to a perceptual task. The perceptual task was to match an unnamed line to either line a, b, or c. The overwhelming majority were able to guess the correct answer when placed in a social setting that involved average individuals. However, when Asch introduced “confederates” there was a breathtaking result. Nearly three-fourths of the individuals in the experiment conformed to believe the wrong answer. Overall this showed how the average individual can abandon their thought process and innate senses simply because they view it as abnormal or uncommon.
If that logic is applied to the recycling situation, it becomes clear. Recycling is the unnamed line, and the line that obviously matches up with that unnamed line is the recycle bin. The only problem is that all these confederates (the hundreds of millions of people that choose not to recycle) distort the average person's ability to see the obvious relationship between the two lines. That leaves everyone choosing the incorrect line, which would be the trash can. All-in-all that means more people need to start recycling. Once the majority starts to do that everyone else will follow.
SNH Disposal 79 Old Wilton Road, Unit 2 Milford, NH 03055 (603) 821-0146