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Problems with San Diego Recycling

by Jasper Kallsen

San Diego’s recycling program is far more extensive than the vast majority of recycling programs across America. This can be seen through the recycling of a variety of items, including a wide range of paper and plastic products. There are issues with recycling, however. Though the list of recycled materials is extensive, items such as styrofoam, plastic film, utensils, and bags that are widely used go straight to the landfill. The more items in landfills leads to more methane and other harmful greenhouse gasses that are emitted, which is obviously quite dangerous for not just the local environment, but for the national and global environment as well.

Even though there are many materials that can be recycled, very few of them are actually recycled. This is due to the fact that countless people put recyclables into garbage cans, a simple but detrimental action that negatively builds and builds. Furthermore, if items that are put in recycling cans, they must contain no residue, or in other words must be in a clean container. Just the smallest amount of contamination in an item compromises not just the item itself but the entire container of materials that the item was in.

One final issue with recycling is that the city and recycling companies need to find buyers who are willing to process and or use recycled materials. With this being the case, metals, cans, and mixed paper are often the most exported items from recycling centers. With this in mind, it is extremely important on an individual, societal, and corporate level that plastic and styrofoam materials are reduced. This comes as plastics and styrofoams are often not even collected as recyclables, as they pose more of a strain on the party that collects the items than an element of success.

Some tips to keep in mind while recycling:

  • Follow the rules of reducing and reusing before resorting to the recycling bin.

  • Don’t throw away recyclables in a bag. Workers are not allowed to open the bag and the entire bag is unable to be recycled!

  • Don’t recycle items smaller than a credit card. Tiny items often jam equipment.

  • Make sure containers are emptied, washed, and dry.

  • Only recycle clean items to prevent an entire load from being disregarded.


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