What is Recycling?

Recycling is the act of breaking down objects that would not normally decompose in the environment. These include aluminum, styrofoam, glass, etc. Right now the earth and its resources are being overexploited. Humanity has been tearing down natural ecosystems and replacing them with cities, airports, factories,etc (Vitousek, Mooney, Lubchenco, and Mellilo, p.366). Many non recyclable products are discarded into the environment. In the recent years, recycling has increased. In 2010, The U.S. recycling industry recycled $77 Billon worth of materials ( Business and the Environment, p.12). However, in some countries, such as Peru, the amount of waste has increased along with the recycling, making it harder to compensate(Diaz, Ricardo, and Otoma, p 108).The path of recycling can be a fairly simple one, however, most people may now know what happens after they recycle. First, the recyclables are collected, and then taken to a recycling facility. Once there they are cleaned and separated into the correct piles(Palliser, Science Scope, p.14). After that, the recyclables are converted and/or implemented into new products, such as sheets of paper or plastic containers. Finally, the products are then bought by the consumer, and the cycle continues(Palliser, Science Scope, p.14).

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The Issue and the Purpose of Our Website

Preserving the Earth’s limited source of natural resources has become increasingly difficult over the years. Some countries, such as the United States, use more resources than the earth can supply (Wackernagel, Rees, Our Ecological Footprint, abstract). Many people do not recycle for factors regarding accessibility and effort. For example, if the nearest recycling plant for a citizen is a 2 hour drive away, then most likely they will not recycle(Nang, p 96). Another factor is that recycling is not a cost efficient action. If a person knows that they will not receive sufficient monetary compensation for their recyclables, then it can be assumed that they will not trouble themselves with it(Nang, p 96). In a recent article from 2014, a study was conducted and determined that the “moral intensity”, or the way someone perceives an issue, greatly factors into a person’s decision to recycle(Barbara, International Journal of Consumer Studies, p.90-97). The goal of our project, is to determine why people choose to recycle or not, and attempt to find a solution and help clean up the environment.

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Recycling Throughout the Centuries

Recycling has existed for quite some time. According to scientists, recycling has been utilized since the prehistoric times(David, Canadian Press, p.1). Cavemen and neanderthals recycled the everyday objects they used to fashion new tools, as a means for survival. Though it was not to the extent that it is today, cavemen could not afford to waste resources, as they did not know when they would be fortunate enough to find them again (David, Canadian Press, p.1). However, the recycling we know today was believed to have began sometime in the 1970’s. Recycling was mainly used during times of war at first, as a necessity¬†to conserve limited resources and make them last longer(Palliser, Science Scope, p.14). Children were asked during WWII to collect scrap metal, so that it could converted in weapon parts and ammunition(Kirk, America: History and Life). During the war, Great Britain went as far as to destroy books and historic records for materials(Thorsheim, Contemporary European History).Today, an argument could made that recycling is once again a necessity.

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Citations

Factors Affecting Voluntary Participation in Food Residue Recycling: A Case Study in Da Nang, Viet Nam. 25 Sustainable Environment Research 93-101. N.d. Environment Complete. Web.

Omran, Abdelnaser, and Ana-Maria Schiopu. “Reasons for Non-participation in Recycling of Solid Waste in Northern Malaysia: A Case Study.” Environmental Engineering & Management Journal (EEMJ) 14.1 (2015): 233-43. Environment Complete. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Peter M. Vitousek, Harold A. Mooney, Jane Lubchenco, and Jerry M. Mellilo, from “Human Domination of Earth’s Ecosytems” (Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology) (1997).

“Recycling Statistics Released.” Business & the Environment 22.6 (2011): 12-13. GreenFILE. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Diaz, Ricardo, and Suehiro Otoma. “Cost-benefit Analysis of Waste Reduction in Developing Countries: A Simulation.” Journal of Material Cycles & Waste Management 16.1 (2014): 108-14. Environment Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

David, Ariel. “Hundreds of Thousands of Years Ago, Cavemen Recycled, Scientists at Israel Conference Say.” Canadian Press, The. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.

Kirk, Robert Wm. “Getting in the Scrap: The Mobilization of American Children in World War II.” Journal of Popular Culture 29.1 (1995): 223-33. America: History & Life. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Palliser, Janna. “Green Science: Revisiting Recycling.” Science Scope 35.3 (2011): 14-17. ERIC. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

THORSHEIM, PETER. “Salvage and Destruction: The Recycling of Books and Manuscripts in Great Britain during the Second World War.” Contemporary European History 22.3 (2013): 431-52. ProQuest. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Wackernagel, Mathis, and William E. Rees “Our Ecological Footprint” (Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology) (1996).

Culiberg, Barbara. “Towards an Understanding of Consumer Recycling from an Ethical Perspective.” International Journal of Consumer Studies 38.1 (2014): 90-97. Business Source Complete. Web. 21 Nov. 2015.

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