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    Will Recycling Make a Difference?

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    To recycle or not to recycle that is an important question that we all need to ask ourselves. As the population continues to grow and the earth gets more and more crowded with people and their waste it becomes a major issue of whether there will be enough space on the planet earth for future generations and their waste (trash) too.

    When first beginning to collect trash and counting the trash my attitude was – what influence could my family make? But as I began to research recycling and how some wastes pollute the environment my attitude took a change. The attitude turned more toward concern than what or how much my waste contributed to the big picture. Below is a chart reflecting the amount of trash that was counted and weighted during a four-week period beginning the week of Monday, April 24, 2000 and ending on Sunday, May 21, 2000.

    These weights were rounded up to the nearest pound. Week Aluminum Other Metals Glass Plastics Newspaper White Paper Other Paper Food Prducts and Lftovrs1- Apr 24-30 10 5 4 5 2- May 1-7 3- May 8-14 4- May 15-21 Totals The Orrs household consists of my wife and three children, ages 9, 5 and 2 (3 boys and 2 girls). During the first week of my collection the oldest child was visiting her grandparents, which I thought would have made a difference in the amount of trash that the Orrs would accumulate. There was a major surprise to the household of how much food waste accumulated over a week, and how the numbers of plastic and glass were almost equivalent. The food waste can probably be attributed to the fact that Mrs.

    Orr still cooks for five people and the children never really eat all their food. When raising three children you get into a pattern and it has been hard for my wife to change that pattern as far as the amount of food that is bought and the amount of food she cooks at any one time. The newspaper was not a great surprise because each week the household receives the same number of papers, the O’Fallon journal daily, the Sunday Post Dispatch, two journals and some weeks the papers varied in size. Depending on the media. The large amount of other paper came as a major shock, This consisted of some color paper and disposable diapers that the youngest child uses. A lot of this was various bits of junk mail that is received weekly that was not be counted as white paper or in the newspaper catogory.

    Paper napkins and towels also added to the grand total, as well. There was a lot of white paper that was collected, but this was during the time when the computer was being used a lot due to the youngest daughter and her book report and most of the mail was in the form of junk. The first week I weighed two pounds of plastic. This pound consisted of two Pepsi bottles and water bottles. After the first couple of days, it became more aware of how much water that was being used and the solution to this was reusing the same bottles instead of throwing the empty ones out, which also saved money. The researching period of recycling and learning what all the waste is doing to the our Planet, was when the biggest concerns became aware of the amount of other trash that was counted.

    Because this is the type of trash that cannot be recycled easily. The disposable diapers and the sanitary products are a major concern because this type of waste goes directly into a landfill. When further research on the disposable diapers, it was surprising to find that the disposal of the diapers is not causing the controversy, that it did several years ago. “According to one study it was found that disposable diapers cause more trash but cloth diapers use more energy…” (Samuelson 143 – 144).

    This would mean that no matter what you use that you are still causing some damage to the environment in one way or another (The Orr family goes throught about four diapers a day).

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