Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Hello Readers (Jennie & others if there are any)!

I have started this blog as an assignment for my Environmental Writing class. This is my final project for the semester. I chose to write a blog because a blog can be whatever you want it to be. You can choose to be informative or just make it your journal. I feel like I combined the two, I am very informative and provide evidence for that information. However, I still have a voice, which makes it seem journal-like. The combination of the two can be beneficial because it can draw the reader in, unlike only presenting plain and boring information. For this reason, I chose to begin the first blog (“R-R-R!”) with a little bit of a story; it is sort of my thought process (like a journal). I remembered seeing the movie and this led me to think about recycling. I also made it my first entry because it is introducing the topic: recycling. While in the second entry, I chose to give information that is more detailed about recycling. An important part of that blog entry is that I include suggestions with links for the readers. I got the idea to suggest things from other blogs that I have read in the past. Finally, if this was an actual blog to be run, I would change the URL to something about the environment and I would try to promote it on websites about the environment and recycling. I would also consider it somewhat of a lifestyle blog, because it could lead to people changing their daily lives. In order to encourage recycling efforts and reach out to more people adding it to the list of lifestyle blogs would be a good idea. Another great aspect of a blog is that when people search for recycling information it could end up being one of the search results and lead them to my blog! The audience is anyone who is interested in the environment, recycling or helping out the planet, as well as those who are curious about the harmful effects of not protecting our planet.


The Benefits of Recycling

Benefits to the planet:
         Similar to how it requires much less time and effort to make a cake that comes from a box and is ready to go with a few ingredients versus making one from scratch (although in this case making one from scratch is better), it takes significantly less energy to recycle products compared to the energy that it costs to make a product.
Recycling also reduces the amount of harmful chemicals that are released in landfills. Chemicals such as CO2 and methane gas have been described as causing global warming. Recycling reduces this because if more recyclable material is actually recycled, than the amount of waste in landfills will be reduced, thus reducing the amount of CO2 emitted. Likewise, if paper is actually recycled it will reduce the amount of methane gas produced. Overall, landfills are horrible for our planet because they take up space and they take years and years to decompose. This is extremely bad because of the amount of garbage that people produce daily (4.5 pounds). Nonetheless, landfills contribute to these harmful chemicals in the atmosphere but are not the only ones.
Benefits to people: 
Two words: health and money. We are all human and we want to be healthy and we like to make extra cash whenever we can!
By knowing the implications of not recycling it is easy to see that a healthy planet equals healthy people. As stated before, recycling reduces the amount of harmful chemicals that contribute to global warming. In the long run, this can be helpful. If we do not do something about it now, obtaining clean water may become an issue through out the world in the future. If we continue to dump waste (including recyclable items) in landfills instead of reusing them, we are likely to run out of space. The chemicals and the waste can end up contaminating our water. If we want future generations to be able to live on the planet we have to make changes now, before it’s too late. In addition, global warming and climate change affects all life on earth. I learned about this topic in my ecology course this semester. Not only is the average temperature increasing, it is also causing extreme weather. It affects precipitation, thus affecting water availability. 
Moreover, we can also benefit from recycling by making money from it! I know that my parents collect soda cans and once they have a good amount, they take it to a recycling center where they get cash for the cans. I think this is such an easy way to make some extra cash and also make a difference for our planet. There are other items that are recyclable for cash, this includes: plastic bottles, glass bottles, certain metals, and even electronics. Similarly, one can also save money by composting. Composting is when organic materials are basically mixed together and the great thing about this is that it can be put back into the earth as fertilizer. 

What YOU can do:
         Hopefully by now I have convinced you that recycling should be an important habit for you in your daily life! Here are a few suggestions for you to get started on helping our planet:
  • An easy way to transition is to begin reusing things, and this works for most things. You could use plastic reusable plates instead of plastic plates; you could reuse glass containers for storage. A great one (which my dad started to do) is to purchase a couple of reusable bags for your groceries, instead of using the plastic ones that they give at the supermarket. Lastly, invest in one or two reusable water bottles! You have a couple options like metal or a plastic one and there are so many designs. This also saves you money because you won’t have to keep buying water bottles, while using less plastic!

  • Now, if you do not want to reuse those glass jars or containers or you must continue to purchase plastic water bottles, make sure you recycle them! Also, just be make sure you try to recycle as much as you can! It all makes a difference.
  • As mentioned before, you could set aside a bin for soda cans or other recyclables that can be sold and make some extra money as you help out our planet.

  • Compost, (yay!) the great thing about composting is that many foods can be composted instead of thrown into the waste bin. Other organic items such as leaves that have been raked are usually thrown away in the waste bin, but can be composted. This will definitely make a difference. With that said, many places have taken the initiative to compost, such as my school: the University of Arizona. Through out campus there are compost bins (as well as different recycling bins). They also have instructions to show guide people into placing the correct items in the compost bins. The student-run organization that leads this program is the Compost Cats. If you are in school and you enjoy clubs and being a leader, you could consider creating a similar program for your school!


Sunday, May 4, 2014


I remember one summer I was home watching T.V. Unfortunately I did not have cable, so I had to stick to the local channels. I ended up watching PBS because there are educational, yet very interesting films and shows on there sometimes. Anyway, the point is, I watched a documentary titled “Garbage Dreams.” A little background on the film is that it was released in 2010 and it is about the Zaballeen (“garbage people”) that live on the outskirts of Cairo. They make a living by recycling garbage in a very efficient manner. The focus is on three teenage boys and their struggles of this way of living. This film made me think about recycling and how important it really is; I highly suggest this film if you’re interested in this topic.  For more information on this film click on this link:

It was eye opening in many ways, but I want to focus on one aspect: recycling.
Although this film is four years old, I think it is still a relevant topic to be talking about—we are not recycling enough. I have to admit, I do not always recycle myself, but I am definitely going to change that. Every piece of recyclable material that we do not recycle adds up! According to, only about 30% of waste is recycled, while 75% of our waste is recyclable! This is a huge difference! By now, we should have already managed to become more efficient at recycling. The Zaballeen recycle an impressive 80% of their waste.

We tend to think that one little thing that we don’t do will not have an effect, but it does because many people think this way. However, this is not the only reason why we do not recycle. In my social psychology class we learned about attitudes and when they do or do not predict behavior. One of the ways is that it depends on the amount and intensity of other influences. To help us better understand this idea my professor used recycling as an example. One may endorse that they are for recycling but due to other factors may or may not actually behave in a way that displays this attitude. These factors could be if there was an extra cost to recycling or maybe the apartment complex in which you live does not have a place for you to throw away your recycling.
Why is the percentage of waste that we recycle so low? In my opinion it has a lot to do with being informed. There are several wonderful programs and campaigns about recycling and they are doing an excellent job, but I’m talking about the general public. The general public probably doesn’t know that only 30% of waste is recycled and how terrible that percentage is. In addition, many people do not know how to recycle. There are certain items that can be recycled and then those that cannot. The problem is that some people may think that some items are not recyclable and they are and then vice versa. The trouble with this is that the items thrown in a trash bin are taken straight to a landfill where regular waste is deposited. However, if you were unsure if your pizza box is allowed to be recycled because it has some grease and maybe even some cheese residue, it is better to toss this in the recycling bin. The reason for this is that sorting centers are able to "correct many of your mistakes.” Now, I'm not saying to throw everything into the recycling bin, but think twice, I know I will.