In the last two decades, we have seen the natural world suffer. The ice is melting, the summers are hotter, the ocean is filled with plastic, and animals are losing their homes. People have started to notice their effects on the Earth and there is a call to change what is done. There currently is a surge in clean lifestyles, designed to minimize their fingerprint on the natural world. Areas of their life-changing to fit the lifestyle. One can only do so much when it comes to changing their diet and buying products that claim to have a clean product. There are still everyday items that people require that do not fit the green expectation. While a product’s creation could leave no harmful effect on the environment, it’s packaging might.

Recycling has been made to be the saving grace for the influx of waste we produce, taking a used product and turning it into another that can be used once again. While this is a feat all in its own, it cannot be given all the credit we’ve given it. Yes, it does allow less waste to be produced but recycling is not as versatile as we believe.

Not all plastics can be recycled. Several different types of plastics exist, each with their own different chemicals, making so different plastics cannot mix. While some plastics can be shipped and recycled, some do not have the markets available to do so (them not existing yet or being too far away). Even some plastics of the same type are not able to be mixed, having different processes that create different chemical combinations, for example, yogurt tubs and milk jugs cannot be mixed, neither can their caps. What cannot be recycled will ultimately be thrown out.

I hope that the future will have more funding into making markets that will recycle the other types of plastics but if that future doesn’t come I believe the future is the past. In the past we did not have access to plastics and their uses, glass used in packaging. Glass can be recycled endlessly and molded into virtually any shape. Upfront glass is more expensive than the plastic products that we’re used to but in the long run, glass will prove to be more cost-efficient. If companies transitioned into a container purchased then product after system I believe all parties will benefit. Laundry detergent, for example, purchase the glass jug then dispense how much product a consumer needs into the jug, this will help the environment by using less plastic, help the consumer by being able to purchase only what they need, and help the company by being able to charge more for the glass. If consumers were able to buy specific amounts of only the product then store it in glass containers the world would be much more green.

Essay by: Miki Josephina Ysaguirre
Florence High School

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