Recycling has advanced far beyond collecting cans and bottles, cardboard and newspapers. And despite disappointing efforts, the future is bright.
While some nations are making impressive strides in pursuing and building sustainable cultures, others are still lagging in all areas. And the United States, while not the worst offender, certainly has much room for improvement.
Moving Away from a "Use It, Dump It" Society
Technology and manufacturing progress have brought us incredible and invaluable goods and services. In the medical field alone there are thousands of devices and various types of diagnostic and surgical instruments and machinery that have literally transformed the practice of medicine and contributed to the saving of millions of lives.
Communications today for the average citizen is made up of the stuff of fantasy and science fiction just 50 years ago. There are millions of Americans living today and using smartphones and tablets who can clearly remember having one landline telephone in their homes and a CRT television or two - with just four channels!
The fact that we can pull up to a charging station, charge our electric vehicle, and drive off again without anyone even giving us a second glance speaks to the futuristic reality of today's technology.
But all this advancement has come at a price.
We are also, here in the United States especially, a consumer-driven society. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the manufacturing sector is part of the goods-producing industries supersector group.
The BLS points out that,
"[E]stablishments that transform materials or substances into new products by hand or in the worker's home and those engaged in selling to the general public products made on the same premises from which they are sold, such as bakeries, candy stores, and custom tailors, may also be included in this sector."
And this "manufacturing sector" makes up makes up 16.6 percent of the total global manufacturing output, second only to China. In other words, we make stuff, sell stuff, buy stuff, use stuff, and throw away old and broken stuff - by the tons.
But that has been changing over the last few decades, and for good reasons.
Is Recycling Broken in the United States?
Recycling as social good and a desired civil practice in the U.S. really took off around the time of the first celebration of Earth Day. As EarthDay.org says it,
"Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970."
Ever since, school children and adults have been indoctrinated with the concepts of recycling and reuse, all of which is a good thing. The problem, however, is that many of us recycle minimally and often inefficiently.
But the problems with recycling go far deep and broader than the individual efforts of average consumers.
Take plastics, for example. Single-use plastic products make up a large portion of packaging and other consumer items. These are designed and manufactured to be disposed of after their initial use. And these products are growing inexorably in number.
Here are a few statistics provided by EarthDay.org:
- An estimated 583 billion plastic bottles were produced in 2021. That is 100 billion more than were produced just five years ago.
- This year, five trillion plastic bags will be used. That’s 160,000 every second!
- In 2017, packaging production constituted the highest-demanded use for plastic, with 146 million metric tons used.
- Each year, enough Bubble Wrap is created globally to cover the distance between the earth and the moon.
- In the U.S., we throw away more than 50 billion coffee cups every year. These are coated with plastic to laminate the inside and use plastic lids.
But the problems with recycling do not stop at plastics. Glass recycling suffers due to limitations with technology and the high degree of contamination that is inherent with waste glass. Other materials that could be recycled are not cost-effective enough to do so and end up in landfills instead.
And the list goes on. Recycling is experiencing a surge of corporate "heart searching" and public loss of confidence that all our efforts are actually resulting in recycled waste after all these years.
But there are recent innovations and advances in technology and science that promise great change in the realm of recycling in America.
Here is a graphic "snapshot" of the future promise of recycling:
Share this Image On Your Site
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Today More Than Ever
According to one source,
"The U.S. accounts for less than five percent of the global population, but produces roughly 12 percent of global MSW and is the biggest generator of MSW per capita. On average, Americans produce slightly more than 800 kilograms (1,377 pounds) of waste every year."
In addition, this makes the United States is the largest producer of municipal waste in the world, generating approximately 265 million metric tons of garbage as of 2018. China produced slightly less according to the most recent available data in 2017, at 215 million metric tons.
To emphasize the contrast, however, keep in mind that five years ago the U.S. had a population of just 326.8 million compared to China's 1.403 billion. Which means that a nation with more than times the number of people produced almost 20 percent less waste!
These facts alone bring home the extent of America's contribution to the global waste and recycling problem.
But if we could decrease our consumption - and subsequent waste - by one third and increase of recycling by 35 percent, we could reduce our overall waste production by more than half.
Junk King: Your Green Partner for a Greener, Sustainable Future
You can rely on us to provide you with a sustainable and green disposal junk removal services for all your residential trash and junk removal needs.
Junk King provides professional junk hauling services that removes any type of junk including anything made with glass, metal, paper, and plastic. These are junk items that are both reusable and recyclable.
And we work hard to recycle as much of all the junk we pick up each day.
Junk King has the equipment and teams for removing large refrigerators and other appliances, and we can move them down stairways, up basement steps, or out through garages.
Whatever type of junk you have, we always try to recycle or reuse everything and anything we pick up. Junk King's eco-friendly junk removal service helps you get rid of any unwanted junk, including large plastic items, in a sustainable way.
If you are stuck with large amounts of waste plastic, Junk King can help you get rid of it today!
Our professional and insured junk removal team will show up at your home or office, and we'll call 15 to 30 minutes before we arrive. Once there, we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck.
So, ready to get rid of that "hard-to-recycle" plastic waste? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Make an appointment with us by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).