Reduce, Reuse, Do You Recycle?


Ava Cumiskey, staff writer

The word “recycle” is so familiar in today’s society, but are enough consumers doing their part? The process of converting waste into reusable materials was introduced to the world all the way back in 1904. Although it is an amazing environmental benefit, not everyone discards reusable materials like they should. 

Many people hear the word recycling everyday, but don’t know the benefits it actually does to the world. Mr. Klein, Psychology and History teacher, as well as leader of the Environmental Awareness club at NPHS, said: “It reduces the costs and downsides of getting newly found raw materials, it saves room in the dwindling space used for landfills, and it sometimes takes less energy to produce products from recycled materials.” 

Recycling items is important for the environment because waste is not disposed of properly, it can take its toll.

“Recycling helps prevent the plastic buildup in the ocean” said Natasha Grandov, a sophomore at NPHS. 

The low rate of plastic recycling has had a ripple effect on the world and wildlife. Less than 10% of all plastic ever made has been recycled.

This fact in particular upsets Klein: “It makes me both angry and sad! The consequences are enormous. Much of it ends up in the oceans, sea life, and ultimately most species including us.” 

One of the major challenges faced by recycling advocates is that although people claim they recycle, it seems that a lot of reusable items end up in the trash rather than in the recycling bin. 

“You just have to look in our own trash cans in the cafeteria to see that people are throwing away recyclable materials,” said Klein. 

Conversely, when a consumer places an item that belongs in the trash in a recycling bin, it can cause major damage to that load.

“This sort of contamination can result in a large portion of the materials ending up in landfills or being incinerated. It slows down the recycling process. This causes communities to reduce their recycling efforts because they can’t afford it or they have to raise taxes, which very few people like,” said Klein.