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Tamila Rakhilchuk


English IV Honors

24 March 2017

The Effects of Going Green on the Community and Environment

The system of recycling and being green has improved tremendously since the mid 90’s.

From recycling only paper and reusing simple materials like clothing, the world has gone

forward with the help of technology to introduce innovative and complex ways for making being

green easier. With the aid of research, there is supple evidence to support and promote countries

and states to become anti-waste for the goal of bettering themselves and the world. Going green

and supporting recycling, upcycling, and reusing (R.U.R.) affects both the community and

environment positively as citizens become self-aware of their footprints and take initiative to

change through providing programs, proper education as well as refurbishing the mindset of

society to care about being green.

The consequences of not being green is one of the notable ways of determining why

R.U.R. should be used more and be relied on for a daily basis. The effects on the physical earth

is undoubtedly evident as different parts of the world experience the wrath of mother nature as

negative activities take place at a constant and rapid pace. One of the first things that was noticed

was the changing climate in many parts of the world. Michael Grunwald concluded that “the first

13 years of the twenty-first century were among the hottest on record” and there are

consequences being paid (Grunwald, Source #5). In this article, Several wildfires, droughts as

well as inconsistent weather have been occurring. One of the most recent weather bombs was

super-storm Sandy that tore up the entire east coast. Sandy was a regular tropical storm
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(hurricane) that turned into a winter massacre as it hit the northern cold air of New jersey and

New York. Another discovery that Grunwald stated was that “five to eight inches of sea level rise

in South Florida had been documented in the past fifty years” (Grunwald, Source #5). Although

some may not associate either of these facts to the effects of not recycling and being green,

whenever it is looked at in a big picture, the pieces add up. Whenever generated waste and

materials are not recycled and are thrown into a landfill, more raw resources are being used and

later produced. This means that the energy that is being used for the raw materials could have

been subsided if corporations were to use the “old” and already used material. Overall this way

of manufacturing uses more energy and produces even more CO2 which in turn raises

greenhouse gases and increases global warming (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc

Source #6). Whenever the consequences of not being green by recycling are this dangerous, it

truly urges the world to question themselves as well as rethink their manufacture process.

In parts of the world, there are already many contributions made to help aid the

promotion of being green. These contributions and initiatives supplement the communities not

only in the way of being green but in the way that it supports new programs and plans to benefit

from within. For one example, the state of Georgia had introduced a program called Keep

Georgia Beautiful that has been funding education for 35 years (Young, Souce#14). This is the

largest state affiliate of a national organization. This shows how the government can help the

recycling industry and have a massive effect on the community. With government aiding the

recycling industry, it produces many new businesses that help provide jobs to communities.

Officially, the “U.S. scrap recycling industry directly and indirectly supplied more than forty-

seven thousand Americans with employment” (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc

Source #6). The new jobs provide workers with constant and reliable incomes for which they can
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in turn pay taxes which will cycle back into the community and help their local economy. It also

helps national programs and by continuing them through the tax paid from the new workers.

Overall having government intervene and join the battle for a green world helps the environment

and society because not only does it help supply jobs but it helped transform more than one

hundred and thirty metric tons of scrap metal, paper, glass, electronics, rubber, and textiles into

specific grade commodities to be used again. (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

Source #6).

Puerto Rico is another example of where the government can create a good impact on the

environment. It was established that plastic bags were no longer allowed to be supplied in stores

or even given to customers (Velez, Source #13). Plastic bags are produced with plastics that are

not biodegradable therefore they are a hazard to the environment especially the animals that live

in ecosystems within environments. Thousands of animals are killed and threatened each year

because of the plastics that consumers throw out or disposed of into landfills. This can happen in

a number of ways; the animals consume the plastic, get trapped in it, or get strangled by small

plastic traps. Several other states have also taken action by banning. The most notable was

California and Hawaii who put a ban on plastic bags in two thousand fifteen (2015). This is

important for the reason that it prevents several million non-degradable plastic from being

produced and released into the environment (Bragg, Source #3). The crucial fact is that even will

all of these new innovations and programs, recycling rates are falling worldwide and solid waste

continues to grow constantly and that is the main reason for governments to take responsibility

and provide programs like the ones aforementioned.

Communities can do many things to take part in the action of the green buzz but

sometimes face challenges. More often than not communities weigh risks such as determining if
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recycling is worth it; is it cheaper to throw trash away. If this is the problem then the risk

becomes an ethical dilemma rather than the possibility of it being an economic one (Young,

Source #14). If communities decide to do right thing ethically, then one of the solutions that they

can provide and offer to the citizens is recycling bins for curbside recycling. And not only just

regular bins, the community can give families larger bins. This makes it possible for more

materials to be recycled at one time and save more energy (Young, Source #14).Doing things like

this within the community is beneficial because as lots of waste can be diverted. It also keeps

people from making up excuses as to how much they recycle since the space is now not a

problem. Misconceptions will always still be out there about recycling which is one of the many

reasons curbside service is not entirely being used. There is no one-size-fits-all option in the

industry therefore communities cannot enforce and make recycling mandatory. This is an

important issue as an effect is that businesses have to pick up the responsibility of creating new

ideas and improve the linkage between the recycling industry to the citizens within communities.

Businesses are able to come up with new and creative ways to arouse the attention of consumers

and use it to benefit the green path. For example the gasoline company, Shell, posted an

advertisement claiming to use the use of natural gas as well as lowering emissions (Grunwald,

Source #5). By doing so they encourage consumers as well as other businesses to start doing the

same. This happens through simple competition and by getting into consumers minds that using

natural gas is the next great thing and they should be using this type of gas. This helps the

environment because natural gas is listed as a clean energy source meaning that it produces less

emissions rather than the regular benzoyl gasoline and can provide energy for two hundred and

thirty years (Grunwald, Source #5). Other ways that businesses can contribute to the community

is by providing their companies with simple ways to reduce and prevent the amount of trash
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going to landfills. For example, plastic bags can be taken to Publix, Kroger, The Home Depot as

well as Target for recycling. The best thing about this is that these corporations are located all

across America meaning that it is an easy access for anyone (Young, Souce#14). Again, doing

this prevents millions of plastic bags from winding up in the ocean where they can be ingested

by sea creatures. “An estimated more than one hundred thousand marine animal deaths a year are

caused by the bags” (Young, Souce#14). Another company encourages their users to recycle

because of the initiative of trading trash for money. The company recycles cymbals for a dollar

an inch for every single cymbal donated. The owner claimed that they have “literally taken out

seventeen thousand five hundred pounds of metal out of landfills and turned it into cymbals and

gongs” (Reesman, Source# 9). Having companies, businesses as well as communities helping

each other in this way is very beneficial especially to the citizens in the communities because it

provides them an easy and hassle-free access to recycling and being green. It gives them less

doubt and reason to not recycling.

Having and providing alternatives for solutions is vital in supporting R.U.R. As a direct

effect, more people can do multiple positive actions for the environment instead of just recycling,

they can upcycle and reuse products and materials. Upcycling and taking what can not be

incinerated effectively or reused can be used to make other things out of those materials

(Reesman, Source# 9). This is good for the environment because it removes waste that is

unnecessary and saves energy as raw materials are not being used. Everyday items such as

computer desks, shirts and simple things like thread spools are being reused as shoe racks,

pillows as well as even dollhouse accessories; Old records are melted to resemble bowls

(Johnson, Source# 7). All of these ideas are often inspired by the second hand corporations or

other businesses, this specifically includes Goodwill. Helping the community, it keeps people
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wanting to hold onto items to refurbish and diminishes the demand for brand new products that

are being spent a lot on. Community members are able to save plenty on money this way. When

upcycling is made easy and popular like the recent DIY craze, people take a lot of interest and

show effort. Another way that upcycling helps the community was demonstrated by a city which

was burned over. Leftover parts and gear from firefighters and miscellaneous items were found

and used to earn money (The Art of Repurposing Catches on Upcycle, Source# 11). These items

which were transformed into new products were bought and supplied a percentage of the sales

that was donated to charities to help rebuild after the fire. One more way that can be used as an

alternative is saving and reusing materials. An example of this is batteries. Batteries are often

thrown out since many believe that they only have a single life. In actuality, they often can be

recharged in two and a half hours and are able to run up to fourteen and sixteen hours (Reesman,

Source# 9). You can even use these batteries over two thousand times. This is exceptionally well

for human and environmental health since batteries contain harmful metals including mercury

and lead (these are toxic to most life). Whenever thrown into the landfills they can leach into

groundwater and surface water which contaminate ands affect the life of anything. Furthermore

these precious metals are known to be teratogens and carcinogens. The final way that

communities can take part of these alternatives is by collecting rainwater and running it through

systems that can filter the water to new drinkable water (Adil, Source#1). This can be the next

crucial step for alternative green because instead of recycling the original water that it used

(which some still deem to be unsanitary) rainwater can be used as a replacement. And as

rainwater is fresh water, free from salt, it is easier to process which also means that it is cheaper

for communities. These could even help states and countries that are in droughts and conserve
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the natural water in aqueducts. All of these reasons provided win-win solutions for everyone


The most important action that the world and society can do besides R.U.R. is educating

themselves and their peers. This is the most crucial part in the process of going green

successfully. Those of which that are informed of the deadly side effects of not being

environmentally safe are the only ones that make effort in protecting their communities and

earth. It is a statistic that forty percent of americans strongly agree that the earth is getting

warmer (Grunwald, Source# 5). This means that top ranking societies in the world who actually

have the highest chance at getting an education still has a devastating amount of citizens that are

misinformed, or lack informance, of the truth that the earth as well as its peoples are facing. If a

higher ranked nations has such small percentages in the amount of people that believe that the

earth is warming, then what kind of percentages are being showed in the rest of the world? It is

only imaginable that it could be in fact lower. Globally fifty seven percent of three thousand and

five people surveyed strongly agreed that the solar ice caps are melting because of global

warming. This statistic included thirty nine percent of Americans who previously strongly agreed

to the fact that the earth is getting warmer (Grunwald, Source# 5). These statistics show quite

immensely as to why education for all people needs to be taken seriously. Whenever there are

this many human beings denying that the earth is getting warmer and not believing that the ice

caps are melting then there needs to be someone to step in and take control. This very much

could be the government. Everyone not only deserves an education, they need it; taking the

responsibility in having citizens sufficiently informed about the world around affects not only

them but the community and environment that surrounds them. Everyone needs to be taught

about the environmental sciences and the effects of their municipal pollution and fossil fuel
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emissions. It is unrealistic to have this many people oblivious to facts which are backed by

supplement research and evidence; there is something wrong with the way that we are educating

society. If they were informed and educated on these topics then these immense populations

would be self aware and positively affecting their health, community, environment and future

generations ahead of them. One of the negative effects of poor informance is that populations are

less concerned about global changes (Changes could be air quality, sea levels that are higher and

all other pollutants). Another issue is that society enjoys blaming everyone but themselves

(Grunwald, Source# 5). They do not believe that they need to be doing any of the fixing because

they do not think they contribute to the pollution. If society is not attached to the impact

intimately then of course there is a gap between the reality and the oblivious. The most deadly

thing for the society to think is thinking that going green and contributing to R.U.R. will not help

them or even the community in any way; the personal life is not connected. Education on the

environment is very poor so much that peoples in higher classes who typically have a higher

education do not understand the basic facts and refuse the science as well. Republican parties are

known to reject climate change and it was most notable during the Obama presidency

(Grunwald, Source# 5). These parties that have more power in influencing need to be repairing

mistakes from the past and introducing ideas to prevent future mistakes. Instead of these parties

effectively fixing problem, the apply short term solutions and leave the long-term issue


Younger generations are an excellent example for showing how education will help the

green revolution. In a twenty fifteen study young people, ages fifteen to twenty, were willing to

pay more for products and services if they knew that the companies were committed to making a

positive social and environmental impact. The statistic for this had also increased up from fifty
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five percent to seventy two percent within one year (Reesman, Source# 9) The reason that this is

good for the community is because if people are still willing to pay a lot of money for services

that are not necessary then the community can take comfort in knowing that converting to green

will not cause them economic loss. For even younger generations the impact of being green is

more strong as their mindset is easier to mold and therefore mold their consciousness of the

environment around them and its importance in relation to them. When kids are shown the

effects of pollution they want to help and try to make a difference (Young, Source# 14). They

learn and want to create clubs to initiate change in the world. They grow a desire to protect what

means the most to them.

There is a lot of new technology available to support demands for RUR. Most of these

technologies may be expensive but they are cost effective in the long run. Wind power, LED

light, green heating are a few of the many examples that are effective in the future of the

environment and the earth(Grunwald, Source# 5). Incentives from the government as well as

other types of help has brought down the cost of technologies too. This is true for solar costs

which had plummeted eighty percent in only five years. It is all about helping communities

conserve energy and be cost efficient. It also helps to provide a sustainable living that is safely

green; they are completely renewable sources of energy.

These are effects of recycling, upcycling, as well as reusing and reasoning for why

everyone should take part in helping the journey to be green. Providing help to the communities

as well as people who are interested to plan ideas on how they themselves can change their bad

habits and become green is very important. Going green does affects the community and

environment as it makes the world a safer place for the current and future generations. The

optimal goal is for citizens to become aware of their actions towards the environment, they are
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inspired to take initiative by supporting programs, having access to education as well as helping

the rest of society to care about being green.