Russel’s Article

How far is recycling the answer to the problem of waste? (2004)

Thesis: Waste is essentially garbage, produced in our homes, from industrial sources and practically anywhere throughout the Earth. People in today’s society have been brainwashed by the fact that recycling is one of the best solutions to tackle the problem of waste. Yes, it is indeed a way to solve the problem of waste, by reusing stuff that initially had to be thrown away, for a better cause. However, people might not even consider the fact that they may actually harm the environment by recycling if they do not think before recycling their items that may be toxic in the first place. Because of this, recycling is not the best solution to the problem of waste as it only partially solves the problem.

Paragraph 1,why recycling is not the best solution: It is extremely normal to see people recycling waste such as old cardboard boxes in today’s society. We dump the waste in the rubbish bin downstairs, and a garbage truck would come in a week or two to clear the waste, and send them for disposal or recycling if possible. We then feel as though we have done a good deed, by recycling our old cardboard boxes and solving the problem of waste and “protecting the environment”. Although it may seem fine, we do not think of what we are dumping into the bins in attempt the recycle the waste. So, what is the point of recycling the packaging if the products we have purchased are actually toxic and are harmful to the environment in the first place? We may be recycling old cardboard boxes that was packed with detergent which contains chemicals that when we wash down the drain, would flow to the reservoirs and eventually the oceans. People actually feel that it is completely fine to dump anything into the environment as long as they recycle the packaging it came along with. That is as good as saying “Let’s poison all the fish and marine life with these toxic chemicals and recycle the boxes or packaging so that we can solve the problem of waste and protect the environment!” The items that we recycle may actually bring more harm than good, thus recycling will not take as far in the solution to the problem of waste.

Paragraph 2,how should we actually tackle the problem?:Recycling is actually a method to eliminate the guilt consumers feel when flushing down the toxic products they use into the waters. They use these toxic products in their everyday life, such as washing their body with soap and applying products in their houses. Recycling is then presented to them to make them feel good as they destroy the environment with these products with every step they take. Therefore, the actual solution and answer to the problem of waste, is to reduce the amount of toxic products we purchase in the first place. In Singapore, we have been taught about the 3R’s to protect the environment, mainly:Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It is only logical that if we reduce our own consumption, we would then reuse and recycle lesser. Obviously, to solve the problem of waste, we have to reduce our consumption of toxic products, and increase our usage of eco-friendly products for the same cause. By leading a healthy lifestyle like this, we end up with less excess packaging, such as cans containing soda, and boxes containing detergent, both chemically toxic products. We should instead look at the labels of the products before purchase, looking out for words such as “eco-friendly” or “non-toxic”. This method of reducing our consumption of toxic products and targeting the root cause of the problem is definitely a more effective method to solve the problem of waste.

Paragraph 3, CA and Rebuttal:Some people might say that recycling may actually be the best method to solve the problem of waste. For small countries such as Singapore itself, the method of recycling is extremely effective as a small country has limited land space, and by continuously reusing the boxes, we are able to reduce the amount of garbage and wastage, and reduce the depletion of natural sources in our homeland. However, Singapore is so small and insignificant if we look at it from a global scale. Solving and answering the problem of waste is a global effort, which takes the hard work of everyone. So what if Singapore is recycling and solving this problem effectively? Is the rest of the world doing the same as well? If the rest of he world is not able to protect the environment and provide an effective solution like Singapore can, the toxic products and chemicals that they have disposed would eventually land onto Singapore’s hands, causing it to suffer the same fate of the other countries.

Conclusion: Recycling is not the actual answer to the problem of waste. It is more about what products you have been consuming, and flushing these toxins back into the environment. If we all stop harming Mother Earth with the products we use for our household chores and daily usage, we will do much better than recycling a few bottles and cans containing CHEMICALS.

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Russel’s Article

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