Inhibition in recycling leads to innovation in communities


ProjectManhattan [CC0]

Townships across the United States are seeing the effects of international politics as efforts for recycling decrease amidst an overall increase in environmental contamination from trash.

Washington County’s collection and regulation is controlled by Waste Management which has decided to decrease recycling endeavors. The townships are not the only ones dictating this decrease as the regulations were first altered by policy changes in 2017 with the top consumer in recycling collection, China. Due to the tension in international affairs, many townships are under new regulations regarding eco-friendly collections such as prohibition of glass and lower recycling requirements per township.

For the last 25 years, countries, including the United States, have sent their recycling collection to China, who hires workers to refurbish the recycled materials. However, in recent years, tight restrictions have been placed on public waste policy that bars the collection of international recycling in the act of protecting the interest of China’s environment and public.

These policy changes were expanded upon by the district’s AP Economics and Government teacher Mr Schwab, who stated that: “It is not economically plausible for the United States to recycle because that would require citizens to participate in dividing the recycled materials or placing their collections  in separate containers – an effort Americans seem too lazy to do.”

Townships nationwide have instituted the recycling reduction by placing mandates on how much of what can be collected. Acting in accordance to Waste Management’s new mandates, townships now allow the collection of plastics, flattened cardboard, paper and beverage cans. Glass is not to be collected any more as United States’ machinery is not sophisticated enough to sort through glass and plastics.

To counter the negative repercussions of this decision, townships have established annual community improvement days to collect bottles and trash that collect around highways and neighborhoods. North Franklin Township is leading the effort to improve the neighborhood, albeit eliminating recycling altogether, by setting the date for clean up day as Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m..

Other townships in the county maintained recycling, such as Canton Township, but have decided to eliminate glass collection. Recycling is mandatory for all Canton Township residents and is set to be collected on the third Monday of every month. Individuals who do not recycle are subject to a fee for non-compliance. In addition to Canton Townships recycling efforts, the township allows individuals to immerse themselves in the community through clean-up initiatives by request.

Townships are not the only institutions making efforts to remedy the situation as Trinity High School’s environmental club held drives to refurbish makeup tins and used markers to limit the trash associated with high school students. In addition to repurposing trash, the club along with the National Honor Society strive to collect recycled materials from the classrooms every week throughout a designated period.

Environmental Club President and Senior Riley Moore commented on the prerogative of establishing a sustainable and eco-friendly campus amidst federal policy that inhibits the efforts: “Trinity’s Environmental Club’s goal is to inform students about these environmental concerns and sustainability but beyond that we encourage students to participate in activities that benefit both the environment and the community.”