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My Take: Climate Change & Recycling

As the climate change or global warming continues, the expectation of extreme weather will occur more frequently than before. For example, the two nor’easters that hit northeastern United states and eastern Canada in early February 2021 had heavy snowfall, cold temperatures and coastal flooding which heavily impacted human society and the ecosystem.

To reduce global warming and greenhouse emissions can become part of our daily life. The waste that humans produce will either be landfilled or go to the ocean. Both ways have negative impacts and add to global warming. The plastic waste in the ocean releases and breaks down into methane and other greenhouse gases by the sunlight and heat. It is increasing the rate of climate change and damages the marine life in the ocean. Municipal solid waste landfills generate lots of greenhouse gases too.

Reducing waste, recycling and composting are effective ways to decrease the greenhouse emissions. Recycling of material can have the most significant impacts. According to North Carolina Environmental Quality, using recycled aluminum scraps to make aluminum can takes 95 percent less energy than manufacturing them from bauxite ore.

A Guide to Garbage Disposal in Japan — The Center for Global Studies (psu.edu)

An efficient recycling and garbage classification system can help to increase the recycle rate and reduce energy use. According to Jorge Jaramillo, in 2018 Japan recycled 84 percent of collected plastic. In comparison, the United States only recycles about 9 percent of collected plastic. In Japan the garbage is classified into four main types: bottles and cans, oversized garbage, incombustible, and combustible. In some regions, the sub-classification of garbage can be up to 10 types or more. Each type of garbage is collected on a specific day og the week. This allows Japan to have a high recycle rate. That can happen to our communities too.

References:

“Plastic waste and climate change- what’s the connection?” WWF-Australia, July 2019

Plastic waste and climate change – what’s the connection? – WWF-Australia – WWF-Australia

“Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP)” United stated environment protection agency

Basic Information about Landfill Gas | Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) | US EPA

Jorge Jaramillo “Is Japan’s high recycling rate enough” Earth island, August 2020.

Is Japan’s High Recycling Rate Enough? (earthisland.org)

“recycling and climate change” North Carolina Environmental Quality

NC DEQ: Recycling and Climate Change

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