Revised Arguing Cause Nw

Trash? What Trash?

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." -New England Proverb

Trash, trash, and even more trash. The amount of waste that we produce as individuals is getting out of control. What the problem is, is that we are throwing away too much product and or material that has potential to be reused and to benefit us in different ways. The cause of this problem is that the consumer isn't aware of the effects that their waste is having on the environment. "In the U.S. alone, over 230 million tons of trash is produced each year" (Boehkle). To put that into perspective, there are 2,000 pounds in one ton. That's 4,600,000,000,000 pounds of trash. That is an outrageous amount of trash that gets thrown out each year by one country. A country that consists of approximately 318.9 billion people. Something needs to be done about the amount of waste America is producing. If one country can produce that much waste in one year, imagine what the world is producing in that same amount of time.

The causes of this problem are simple. Americans simply don't have the time in their busy lives to reduce, reuse, and or recycle. Throwing every possible thing away is more convenient for a good portion of the population. Have you ever noticed that you see more garbage cans than you see recycling cans? This problem gives more accessibility to products that could be recycled to make their way into a garbage container versus the appropriate container. We are known for making uneducated decisions when it comes to what we throw away in our garbage cans and wheel out to the curb once a week. Once a products waste no longer belongs to us, that or item doesn't really exist anymore in our minds. Or so we think. This isn't true for the waste we produce. Once a product leaves our possession it doesn't just disappear. There's no magical black hole that our trash just gets sucked into and is gone forever into some unknown galaxy. There's no such thing as a garbage monster that eats everything and makes it non-existent. "Improper garbage disposal isn’t just an eyesore; it poses a serious threat to nature" (Boehlke). Not only does it pose serious threats to nature, but to the human race as well.

Protecting our wildlife is crucial to our future. At the rate we are producing waste and neglecting small responsibilities, the natural habitats that currently exist, won't be around for much longer. "Birds, mammals, and reptiles can be injured or killed by the trash we throw away. The magnitude of the problem is growing every day, especially because some types of litter do not readily disintegrate and therefore remain in the environment as a threat for decades" (Barbalace).

Failing to recycle has immense effects on the environment. "If New York City shipped all of its trash to West Virginia the commute would produce 760,000 tons of CO2 each year" (Palmer). Not only does the excessive amount of waste take up tons of space, literally. But it is also harming the air we breath. Palmer gives a good scenario in his article. If going from NYC to West Virginia can create that much CO2 per year, just think of how much the rest of the country is producing in CO2. Sure, the trees help filter out the CO2 from the air we breath, but many large areas of forests are being logged. However, that's a topic for another time. The types of things that we throw out can also harm the wildlife. Our actions can harm species that are already on the verge of extinction. And those that are border line to disappearing, won't have much longer to survive with our choices being made the way they are as of now.

"Litter can be very harmful to wildlife. Discarded fishing lines can trap the legs, wings, or neck of waterfowl such as swans or moorhens. A fishhook may get stuck in a bird's throat. Water birds suffer lead poisoning when they accidentally swallow small lead fishing weights. Broken glass can cut the feet of foxes, coyotes, or badgers, and unbroken bottles present a hazard to various small animals. Lizards often crawl inside bottles or cans to bask warm interior, to seek protection or search for food; but they may find it difficult to squeeze out again and can die of overheating. Small mammals in search of food often get their heads caught in the openings of jars. Replacing lids on bottles and jars before discarding can help prevent animals from becoming entrapped. Birds, fish, and mammals may be ensnared by plastic six-pack holders. This can be prevented this by cutting up the plastic rings so that they do not become traps." (Barbalace)

An average person might read this and believe that there are far worse situations in the world that need more attention rather than how much we are throwing away. The argument comes up about how the decisions American's make about recycling won't affect anyone else's lifestyle in any way. While this may be true to one individual, think about your children, nieces, nephews, and anyone else who may be considerably younger than you. Would you want them to live in a world where the air is so filthy that they have to wear a mask to be able to go for a walk? This issue may not directly effect one person in any way, but long term it will affect those that that one particular individual cares about and is related to. You might then proceed to explain how recycling centers aren't easily accessible to everyone. While this may be true as well, there are steps you can take to stretch out the length of time in between recycling containers. The idea of using a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water becomes a viable option. If there isn't a recycling container in a certain town or city, take action and organize a committee to contact a business that could supply one and empty it weekly or monthly.

Eventually, with 230 million tons of waste being produced in the US alone per year, we are going to run out of room to put garbage and other waste materials.

"Arkansas reported enough capacity to go more than 600 years without opening another facility. Massachusetts and Rhode Island, on the other hand, have just 12 years of capacity remaining. New York state, despite shipping most of the Big Apple's trash across state lines, has only 25 years of capacity left." (Palmer)

New York has only 25 years left of capacity, and most of their waste gets shipped out of state. The amount of carbon dioxide that will be produced after that 25 year limit from shipping elsewhere will be incredibly high. Public health is at risk with this circumstance. Our natural resources, wildlife, and our own personal health will decline if we don't do something about this growing issue immediately. Now is the time to step and be the one who makes a difference in tomorrow. It is the time to take charge and go the extra mile to recycle a product that can be recycled. Take those few extra seconds out of your day to cut those handy rings that hold our bottled drinks together. In fact, let's stop buying bottled drinks all together. Spend those few extra pennies to purchase a product that is reusable versus something that you can throw away and forget about. The time is now. It's time to stop sweeping it under the rug and face reality. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

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