The Impact of Recycling

Bottle recycling at school explained

Avery Lynn, Reporter

Around 300 or more million tons of plastic are produced each year, and about 30 million tons of plastic is discarded in the United States. Of the 30 million tons of plastic that is put to waste, about 20 percent is either recycled or incinerated. This means that a majority of the plastic that is discarded ends up in landfills or the environment. Plastic is not biodegradable at a reasonable rate which means this plastic waste, will be with us for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Individually, a person discards around 185 pounds of plastic a year, this is equivalent to around 6,600 plastic bottles of water. To some, this does not seem as a big deal, but Battle High School has over 1000 students. This means Battle students throw over 6.5 million bottles worth of plastic away every year. Only one out of every five of those bottles would have been recycled.

Ms. Tinsley, a AP Biology and Zoology teacher, describes why she recycles.

“I recycle because it is a responsible thing to do as a caretaker for the planet. It is really easy to recycle in Columbia, there is no excuse.”

Recycling is a very easy activity to incorporate into a daily routine. Recyclable containers are located around school; in every hallway, and in every classroom. As a community students will be able to reduce the schools plastic and carbon footprints, as well as keep our environment plastic free.

Ms. Tinsley explains her displeasure with not recycling and littering.

“It makes me angry and I will call them out. It makes us look like dirty people.”

Plastic that is disposed of in the wrong manner, can end up in wildlife habitats such as streams, creeks, rivers, and the oceans, and can end up emitting greenhouse gasses in landfills. Upwards of around 80% of all plastic ends up following this route.

Alfredo Mocino Torres, a senior at Battle, talks about why recycling does not occur,

“It needs to be done, but people don’t do it. It’s just one of those things. Recycling helps the environment, and allows for the plastics to be reused.”

Students can bring water bottles to school, or reuse recyclable plastic bottles. Battle has put water bottle fillers in many of the hallways at school in each hallway and in the commons. This water is filtered and is a way for students to save money, instead of constantly spending money on new bottles of water every day.

The emission of (GHG) in landfills by recyclable plastic, is avoidable, yet abundant. With a changing climate and a rise in an average global temperature, recycling resources should be as important as ever. Plastic is not the only resource that can be recycled and reused. Materials such as cardboard, glass, paper, and textiles can all be recycled.

At school students use materials such as these constantly throughout the day. Many of these materials can be recycled here at school, but there is no program or system set up to recycle materials such as that of the pizza boxes served at lunch.

Recycling is major part of keeping the environment that we and wildlife live in. A healthy environment will allow for wildlife to flourish, and for a healthier climate. If recycling is not a big part of your life, there are many other ways to help the environment. Volunteering to help clean up litter, conserve water and electricity.

Senior Evan Young, volunteers for a group in Columbia called Cleanup Columbia. Young describes how he helps clean up the environment.

“Every spring you get assigned a street you clean up with a group. They give you free lunch afterwards.”

Recycling should be a part of every person’s daily life. Holding onto trash for a couple more minutes is definitely worth it, to help better the environment. Although, there are limitations to what can be recycled at certain times, the necessity to recycle what can be recycled should never go overlooked.