Have we recycle, we will cause a chain

Have you ever thrown the trash out, without even paying attention to what’s in your trashcan and how it can be converted into something useful? If you have, maybe you’ve never heard about the benefits of recycling. Recycling is processing waste into new, useful materials. It’s an effective manner of reusing raw materials, and it is a great way of controlling air, water, and pollution. As a group, we plan to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle for the residents of the community. We will conduct meetings with students about the importance of recycling, make posters that will motivate the students and community to recycle, and stress the impact that recycling will have in the community if we all work together for it to become a healthy habit. Recycling has various benefits and can be a great asset to your community’s development. Recycling is a process that encapsulates many steps that can be segregated into three main ones. The first step is referred to as “Collection and Processing”. There are numerous collection methods. After one of these is chosen, recyclables are sent to a facility to be sorted, cleaned and processed. These materials are bought and taken to the next step of the process: “Manufacturing”. Things that we use every day like paper, containers, and bottles are made from recycled materials. Also, “recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches” (EPA, 2017). One example, here in Punta Cana, are the trash cans made from recycled material. The final step of the recycling process is “Purchasing new products made from recycled materials”. Many products at the store are made from recycled materials. Make sure that when you go you are on the lookout for which are these products and which other products leave the most waste. If all these steps are followed, the benefits of recycling are sure to be reflected.One of the main benefits of recycling is that it conserves and protects natural resources including timber, water, and minerals. Living in Punta Cana, we need to conserve all of those resources so that we can keep the ocean and the air around us clean and safe. If we recycle, we will cause a chain reaction in which our resources will be conserved and therefore we will have an overall healthier environment to live in and future generations will thank us for this. Other benefits include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and it also prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials. Recycling facilities also provide jobs for the many unemployed. Some people practice informal waste recycling as a common way to earn income. According to studies done by the World Bank’s Public-Private-Partnership in Infrastructure Resource Center, “when organized and supported, waste picking can spur grassroots investment by poor people, create jobs, reduce poverty, save municipalities money, improve industrial competitiveness, conserve natural resources, and protect the environment” (World Bank, 2017). Things like this lead to progress in recycling and takes measures in poverty reduction. In the Dominican Republic, all these aspects are highly important to help both our community and the environment around us healthy because if we don’t keep the earth safe, the consequences will be grand to generations that will come after us. There are more than 340 open-air garbage dumps in the Dominican Republic, without any management or control. These uncontrolled garbage dumps are an unseen danger for every Dominican. Dominicans lack the ability of recycling or don’t know what recycling is. A good example would be the new recycling bins that have been placed throughout the school. These recycling bins have been put to promote recycling in the school, but has it really made an impact? No, because they aren’t used correctly or are simply not used… This lack of knowledge is what makes us throw our garbage without any care at all into the streets and areas, as they only see it as “trash”, instead of seeing it as raw material that can be turned into a new product. We, as a group will take it upon ourselves to promote the recycling bins put throughout the school, so they can be appreciated and used correctly. If we teach all students to use the recycling bins correctly, we will make a change in the overall recycling mission of the Puntacana Group. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic recently implemented an information and awareness campaign by sector on solid waste management to put end on the ignorance of Dominicans on recycling. This type of campaign, being the first of its kind, is a step forward towards the ideal process all individuals should complete and recognize. Dominicans should be able to see garbage as a material to create and innovate new products. There are a few corporations that promote recycling in the Dominican Republic, such as the Puntacana Ecological Foundation, BGM Recycling, and Eco Services Dominicana, among others.  All Dominicans should be taught to recycle so the Dominican Republic can become a cleaner, better space to live in for everyone.One of the big problems that make recycling hard is that people are usually uneducated on the topic, so they end up throwing non-recyclable materials together with recyclable ones, causing some of them to become trash, for example: cardboard can be recycled, but if people toss glass containers in the recycling bin together with it this will make the cardboard unusable, it will be reduced to trash as well, and that’s essentially where the problem lies, people are told to recycle but not taught how to do it, which can lead to some unfortunate problems like this, if we take some time to teach students and staff how to properly recycle this will likely become an automatic process after generating waste, just like how we wash our hands after using the bathroom.In our eyes, the biggest enemies of recycling are industries and economy. We as consumers just want to buy products and don’t really care about what happens to the materials used to make these products after we’re done enjoying it. Most of the process of getting your product done is insanely expensive and what pays off, in the end, are we, the consumers. Many people concerned about this claim believe that the solution to this is consuming less, but the reality is that we are not willing to consume less, if our phone has a little crack on its screen we would rather buy a new one than have it repaired, but what if we were paid to give our phones back to the companies so they can use the pieces to “recycle it” and make a better phone while producing less waste? This might sound like an insane idea in many ways but I think this is actually pretty possible.There are many countries that have come up with clever initiatives to promote low waste generation or recycling, for example, in Million, Italy they have a system that turns organic waste into electricity used to power a plastic reprocessing plant. In Luxembourg, a small fee is awarded to those who return glass bottles to the place where they were purchased. Sweden incinerates their waste to produce electricity to power their cities. Austria uses public trash containers with instructions on what to recycle in each one of them. Germany makes companies pay for the waste they produce, encouraging them to buy easily recyclable products instead, this is why these countries are considered the cleanest ones in the world and also some of the most advanced. We should take this country as examples and adopt some of the measures they take. This will likely make the country more aware of this problems and hopefully, people will help the world by focusing on personal gain.Remember how we said earlier that getting the materials to make your product is really expensive? What if companies had to extract less of those materials to make your product? They would save up a lot of money, which is their primary interest, and they would still make a lot of profit out of us. Most of the time when they come up with upgrades for your phone they are things that don’t really affect the hardware, so even if your phone isn’t broken you might change it just because it’s outdated. If you could pay less in that process at the cost of getting your old phone back, with all these new upgrades you would probably think twice before doing this, this would also generate less waste and be cheaper for the companies, this is the solution I present for this problem, it’s called “circular economy”, it’s a concept that already exists and the UN thinks that if we manage to implement this we would reduce the waste by 65%.There are various reasons why recycling is essential in the world we are living in today. It makes our environment healthier, by making our water and air cleaner. It is part of the solution to reducing global warming since it reduces the amount of waste we produce. If we recycle we will make a change in the world, no matter how small our effort may seem. As a group, we have been researching recycling and the impact it has on our community. We deduced that it was important, helped our environment and could help benefit our hometown in various ways. By learning the importance recycling has on a large scale and a small scale we have come to various conclusions about what we can do as a group to make recycling an essential part of our daily lives and routine. As the American writer, artist and social activist, Robert Alan Silverstein said, “We can help educate our families and communities about the importance of recycling for our environment, and how each of us can make a difference for a better world by recycling.” Determining that whatever size our efforts were, we were still helping our environment was an essential factor that motivated our ideas to better our community. We will start small, by showing people the importance that recycling has and hopefully grow from there until recycling becomes a habit that we can’t break. We hope our ideas will inspire the Punta Cana community to recycle for the present and the future. We will put in our best effort to promote recycling in our community and encourage the community members to try and recycle. We will educate those around us about the benefits of recycling and the consequences of dismissing it. The recycling bins in the school will be used properly by students and staff, and we will have meetings and make posters to encourage recycling. We will make sure everyone understands that recycling will benefit us now and in the future. It’s a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. Recycling is essential for our health, and we will make sure everyone knows that. As the science communicator Bill Nye said, “If you want grown-ups to recycle, just tell their kids the importance of recycling, and they’ll be all over it.” Last week, we discovered a new app at school called “Litterati” created by Jeff Kirschner. It focuses on people taking pictures of the trash they pick up. As of now, they have accumulated about 930,400 pieces of litter photographed, tagged, and disposed. Litterati uses “Geotags to provide insight into problem areas, the keywords show the most commonly found brands and products and the data collected will be used to work alongside companies and organizations to find more sustainable solutions”. Like the creator, Jeff Kirschner said, “We are beginning to build a global database of litter. It’s a big change: until now the only data we had about litter was weight, but now we can start to understand how factors like holidays or the weather affect littering,”. Since Litterati has proved to be effective our plan as a group is to incorporate Litterati in the school and the community, by making a small campaign that will motivate people to participate in the movement. This application is a great way to implement recycling locally because it has the social media pull which everyone loves and people will spread the word about it fast. Litterati will allow us to start small because it allows everyone to recycle independently. If it’s used effectively we might even be able to determine the main litter problem in this area. Another way of implementing recycling that my group plans to develop is making posters with motivational incentives to start recycling. It seems like a simple idea, but its impact will be big. We will create striking images with catchy words that will stick with people. Students from the school will see these posters every day and be reminded constantly of the importance of recycling. Some of the phrases that we will incorporate into this campaign are “recycling takes little effort on your part”, “for a big difference to our world, when you refuse to reuse it’s our Earth you abuse” and “don’t Litter, it makes the world bitter”, among many others. We believe that if we put these posters up around the school in places that are constantly crowded with students it will create a psychological impact that will make them recycle, even if it’s inadvertently. When we put the posters up in the school, it will cast people’s attention for a second, but leave a lasting effect on their actions. One way we plan to make sure that recycling becomes a school-wide activity is by working alongside the student council to promote change. The Student Council is working towards making significant changes in the school, and we as a group believe that it could benefit them to be part of the change that we plan to make in the school. Since they are the communicators between the student body and the administration they could also help us letting the administration know about our future projects so they can be carried out in an organized manner. We will work towards hosting awareness activities and teaching everyone how they can contribute to the change we plan to bring to the school and community. We hope that this school-wide change will eventually reach the homes of the community and that the habit will be implemented not only at school but at home. Recycling can be challenging but it’s often due in part to the programs in place. We know that city recycling programs need to appeal to a large population. Our main focus will be the younger student body. Younger grades are usually more manageable and enthusiastic. We have to start somewhere and we consider that activities with the lower grades will have more impact than those with higher ones. These activities will be such things as educational games related to recycling, in which the kids will learn how to recycle and to have sensibility about what is waste. If we teach them when they are still little, they will grow with a green conscience and take better care of nature than others before them. They will also love to teach their parents about what they just learned at school and this will create a chain effect since it will reach into the society and spread knowledge about this topic. Creating an Instagram account to promote recycling in the school and record our achievements is something that could create the milestone from small change to big change. Since Instagram is one of the most used social media among young people, the fact that we would post everything that we want to do and everything that we achieve is a way to motivate students and faculty to participate in activities and be aware of the change we are achieving. We will begin the account by posting the reasons why recycling is important and how the lack of it is affecting our world. As time passes, we will increase the information and post on how we are working towards achieving change. Ultimately, we will post the activities we will be hosting and encourage the student body to actively participate in recycling to make a change. It will not only increase recycling but will increase school spirit. Most of the work of recycling begins with education, there is a town in Japan called Kamikatsu where they are thought to recycle since very young in 34 different categories and this might sound like an exaggeration but they literally have 80% of the town’s garbage either recycled, reused, or used as compost. The rest goes to a wasteland but they plan on being 100% waste free by 2020. Since they started doing this in 2003 they have saved up to three times as much money compared to when they just threw everything away.We believe as a group that our efforts will bring big benefits in the future, not only to the school but to the community as a whole and even maybe inspire the country to take on action on recycling. A common symbol of recycling is the phrase “Reduce, reuse, recycle”, we want to teach this phrase to little kids as it represents the simplicity of recycling and in hope of creating a clean environment and a recycling community among the kids. But surely there are more benefits than just reducing the amount of thrash that we throw and creating a cleaner school for example. The benefits we estimate to get in the future are: Reduce the size of landfills and minimize its use, if the school becomes a recycling active place the amount of trash produced by the school would drop significantly, helping to put a stop on the continuous growing of the landfills in Punta Cana. Conserve natural resources, Punta Cana and all it represents is all about ecological preservation, in addition to this Punta Cana mayor income comes from the natural resources it possesses, for example, the beautiful beaches where tourists from all over the world have their vacations, so preserving it should be Punta Cana number one priority. Recycling would be an enormous help in preserving Punta Cana’s natural resources.Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all the decomposing trash in landfills creates methane, which is very effective in keeping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. So, all the trash we throw in landfills has a direct impact on global warming, likewise, all the things we don’t throw, this is why recycling not only would help to keep a cleaner and green place, but it would also be helping to stop global warming. Recycling would help to conserve resources and prevent loss of biodiversity, ecosystems, and forests of Punta Cana. Oil erosion and water pollution will be reduced which in turn will protect native plants and animals to survive in forests. Deforestation, which is rising these days will significantly reduce if we recycle. It saves money, many countries have to pay for the natural resources it had lost, as we stated, recycling would help preserve all these natural resources, so the country doesn’t have to pay for planting more forests, mining iron ore or purchasing fossil fuels from other countries.    We hope that promoting by recycling we will help to create a recycling culture among the Punta Cana community and create a snowball effect that would keep growing until recycling becomes a big part of Punta Cana. People in the community should be activist in this matter. The great thing is that the Puntacana Group already has those ideals, so it will be easier to spread them. It is odd that people living here are not more green, but maybe it is because it has not been encouraged enough. That is where we come in. With our plans, we hope to motivate the community to be more active and conscious. If people get to it, Punta Cana could be a great place. Our goal is that it helps as an example to the Dominican Republic and even other nearby countries that have the same issues. As we stated last time, circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimised by slowing, closing, and narrowing material and energy loops. Expanding a little bit more on its origins, the two British environmental economists David W. Pearce and R. Kerry Turner in 1989. As we investigated a little bit more on the topic we realized that some companies are actually taking action right now, the most common example we can see is Coca Cola, at first they used to have this glass bottles and later they realized the waste this generated was huge, then they decided to make plastic bottles so they could reuse the plastic, and this is why we have today’s iconic plastic bottle, the reason this is important is because they changed their products in favour of recycling, and today they generate little to no waste. It would be a great idea to raise awareness on this topic because this is the best solution we have right now to stop generating waste, it’s not consuming less, it’s consuming efficiently and this is what this provides for us. Some other examples of circular economy are Alaska Airlines converts its unwanted airline seats to handbags and purses, Omni United has partnered with Timberland to design its tires in such a way that allows it to be recycled into Timberland’s footwear outsoles, thread, a social enterprise, collects plastic waste from Haiti and repurposes it into usable fabric.The biggest part of it comes from the consumers, and this is an idea that is not commonly known. Raising awareness on this would be a great step in helping generate less waste. If more people knew about, it will naturally have more supporters, thus being successful. Things like this are the ones we would like to promote and get people to know about. We will include this as part of the raising awareness portion of our overall project. If people understand that recycling is being done all over the world and that it has given positive results it will motivate them to put in effort to make a change in the community.Ultimately, we plan to not only increase awareness in the school and community about recycling and its effects but to increase the number of activities so that recycling is not only a concept but something real. As a group, we believe that by implementing different resources such as posters, social media and group activities the issue of not recycling will be lessened and therefore cause a change in school and the community. Our goal is to help everyone understand why recycling is important and to teach them different ways of confronting it for our present and our future. If we work together, change will come for the better.