Recycling and Its Effects on the Environment.

Author:Nodoushani, Omid
 
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INTRODUCTION

Recycling is the process of collecting unwanted materials and reusing them elsewhere. In addition to donating these unwanted items to thrift shops, it also involves collecting old, broken or obsolete waste materials to reuse their natural materials or to turn them into industrial rags or stuffing. Recycling impacts our environment and the quality of our lives. As such, recycling is a controversial, yet important issue. However, a lot of people are not aware how recycling helps us sustain our environment. The more government and environmentalists continue to raise awareness to the benefits of recycling, the more people are inclined to recycle. Information on recycling is everywhere: traditional media (newspapers, television, radio) and non-traditional media (ads on the internet, social media and email inboxes). At some point, too much information has a negative impact on people's recycling efforts if they feel bombarded with so much information they cannot make a decision.

Some of the benefits of recycling include reducing waste in landfills, reducing energy consumption, decreasing pollution and reducing cost. Continuous improvements to the recycling process will have a positive impact on reducing environmental problems.

There are three categories associated with managing waste or garbage: reduce, reuse and recycle. Recycling is a modern and valuable solution to reduce the amount of raw materials needed to create new products; reuse unwanted products; and recycle existing products into new products. This paper will explore the six main kinds of materials that are recyclable: electronics, glass, metal, paper, plastic, and textiles.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION VERSUS INFORMATION OVERLOAD

Federal, state and local governments have campaigned for years on the benefits recycling have had on the environment. While there is noticeable decrease of waste in our landfills, an increase in communicating more messages may not be the answer. According to Eppler and Mengis (2004), consumers and businesses' ability to make adequate decisions is impacted by the amount of information they receive. In other words, the quality of individuals' decisions is positively correlated to the amount of information they receive - up to a certain point. Once that point is reached, the quality of their decisions rapidly declines. In fact, when there is a lot of information being communicated, individuals will become confused and will find it harder to recall specific information. The end result is information blindness or information overload (Eppler & Mengis, 2004). This paper will look at how effective communication has been with respect to recycling.

E-waste

E-waste, or electronic waste for short, is a growing problem as consumer demands for technology increases. Common examples of e-waste include televisions, microwaves, computers and cell phones. Technology is improving so fast that consumer demand for "the next best" thing is a consumer expectation and companies are answering that demand by innovating and improving devices and equipment to meet consumers needs. Recycle Force, a non-profit organization involved in recycling obsolete or outdated electronic devices, states, "the National Safety Council projects that nearly 250 million computers will become obsolete in the next five years and mobile phones are discarded at a rate of 130 million per year" (Recycle Force, 2016). In addition, there are many benefits of reusing or recycling old electronics rather than disposing them of in landfills. According to the Electronics Take Back Coalition, an organization promoting responsible recycling in the electronic industry, the percentage of recycled e-waste rose from 10 percent in 2000 to 40.40 percent in 2013 (e-waste in landfills, n.d.)

Health and environmental hazards are a by-product when disposing untreated e-waste in landfills. Recycling eliminates health and environment hazards in direct relationship to less waste in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Out of 3.14 tons of e-waste generated in the U.S. in 2013, 1.87 million tons went into landfills and incinerators (60%) and only 1.27 million tons (40%) was recovered for recycling" (as cited in e-waste in landfills n.d.). Many states have passed laws making it illegal to dispose of e-waste in landfills to protect the environment and public health from the hazardous materials found in obsolete or outdated appliances and...

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