Write and Respond 2: Recycling Facts vs. Myths

Growing up I have always recycled in my home, my neighborhood, and even in my elementary and high school we have always had separate bins for paper, glass, metal, and plastic. I have always been conscious of my recycling habits and how I can reduce waste but Math 33 has definitely introduced me to the truths about recycling. Early on in the course I wasn’t aware how much math for sustainability was correlated to recycling. Sustainability as we know is how long an economy can remain stable and work efficiently with contributing factors such as humans, and in this case and how we personally effect the economy with our waste. A content area we covered this semester was connecting —ways in which the components of a complex society are connected as stated in the syllabus. This unit of content relates to recycling because our economy is so complex and we human beings are the components that play a major role when it comes to recycling.

In an article published by The Economist “The truth about recycling”, author suggests that waste has increased significantly in this country since the 60’s and now people are more aware of the issue but the amount of effort being put into recycling is up for debate. After reading this article and understanding the correlation between math and sustainability and the mathematical side being “how much”, how much waste is being produced in our country, what can we do to reduce the amount of waste being produced, and the most important question is will we run out of places to store this waste?

An example in the article sheds light on how rapidly industries and homes were producing waste.

“As industrial societies began to produce ever-growing quantities of garbage, recycling took on a new meaning. Rather than recycling materials for purely economic reasons, communities began to think about how to reduce the waste flow to landfills and incinerators” (The Economist)

This excerpt from the article mentions “waste flow” and this is another area of content covered in Math 33 this semester. Flowing as stated in the syllabus– ways in which flows affect the balance of an ecosystem links the flows of waste to landfills and how waste is disposed. Before taking this course, I thought landfills were the main disposal services for all waste and this is not true because landfills have been running out of room for so long now that the idea of the idea of using waste to make new items came about. I have now gained knowledge on the process metals, paper, plastic, and glass go through at recycling centers to be broken down into reusable items.

Taking away from this course I understand the benefits of recycling:

  1. The amount of waste in landfills is reduced
  2. Jobs are created at recycling centers
  3. Economic growth due to domestic production

Understanding the benefits of recycling for our economic growth and not just the sake of the environment may make others aware of the crucialness of recycling.


http://“The Truth about Recycling.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 9 June 2007, www.economist.com/node/9249262.

http://“Recycling Basics.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 7 Nov. 2017, www.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics.

Class Syllabus

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