Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

Recycling green peace

Greenpeace may have been one of the first environmental organizations to promote recycling but the practice has come a long way in the last twenty years. From a small voluntary ‘alternative’ lifestyle to a mandated public policy in America, recycling has entered the millennium as one of the most pivotal ecological lessons. Recycling initially began as a private cottage industry proposed and maintained by activists and environmentalists who attempted to promote going ‘green’ beyond the tried and true mulch pit. As news of waste contamination and landfill overuse began to skyrocket in the 1970s and 80s, recycling moved from a local practice to a massive global initiative.

Greenpeace was a major force in this movement. The object of recycling during these early years was paper products and reusable litter. The problem with waste was not so much what it was as its incredible volume. Glass, textiles, cardboard and plastics soon followed as the recycling industry expanded to include most domestic and packaging products. Cities like New York and Los Angeles began regulating, recycling and mandating its usage as a way to reduce landfill deposits. Many smaller cities across the United States also created voluntary recycling pickup that would allow the average citizen to dispose of these products on the front curb without actually trashing them. Greenpeace continued to support all of this policy decisions on the state and federal level, educating and encouraging politicians and citizens to be aware of their trash volume and commit to changing their consumption habits. This was only half the battle though. Greenpeace also recognized that paper and plastic was a major volumetric concern but not as dangerous as mechanical and chemical waste. Hence, Greenpeace’s newest movement to curb the dumping of technological components, automobile scrap and detritus and potentially dangerous solvents, elements and chemicals.

It has taken a number of years to sell this program to local communities and individuals but positive signs are on the horizon. Along with regular recycling programs, Greenpeace is now seeing additional programs that allow consumers to recycle computer hardware, batteries, petroleum and petroleum byproducts. Some states have forbidden the dumping of these agents and mandated EPA oversight and regulation to ensure the laws are followed. Recent investigations by Greenpeace, however, have shown that so-called ‘tech toxins’ still present major problems in other countries, such as China and India where the government is more reticent to pass legislation barring these practices. Random air samples taken in these countries show heavy metals – including lead – at tremendously high quantities, pushing Greenpeace to call on the governments once again to issue warnings and demand changes.

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January 15, 2008 - Posted by | Blogroll

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