The paper "Recycling and Sustainability" is a great example of a report on environment studies. Achieving a sustainable future is the primary goal of most environmental strategies thus being involved in activities aiming to sustain the future is a great opportunity. The following discusses climate change and the potential contribution of recycling in achieving a sustainable future, details of my involvement with the “ Recycle Centre Tour” and communication tool development, collaborative aspects of the work involved, and final reflection of the project. Context/Background Climate change is affecting individuals and communities as economic models associated with climate change suggest that it is responsible for significant agricultural damage, increase morbidity and mortality, loss of species, and damage caused by sea-level rise and extreme events (Beukering, 2001, p. 67).
The biggest problem associated with climate change is greenhouse gases emitted from energy sources such as carbon-based fuel. According to Vrolijk (2002), lowering carbon fuel emissions can significantly reduce CO2 emissions thus slows down climate change (p. 4). Manivanan (2006) on the other hand suggests that waste prevention and recycling are critical in slowing and reducing the impact of climate change as it can reduce carbon-based energy consumption (p. 358).
For instance, greenhouses gases can be reduced by saving energy such as using recycled materials in manufacturing, increase carbon uptake of forests by recycling paper, and eliminate the need for methane releasing landfills and incinerators through reuse and recycling of waste (ibid, p.358). In terms of adaptability, water recycling is also seen as a solution to recharge groundwater aquifers and augmenting surface water reservoirs. It can also enhance wetlands and riparian habitats (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2008, p. 291). Recycling is seen as an effective solution because it is less energy-intensive compared to normal production processes thus reducing the impact of climate change (Beukering, 2001, p. 67).
Moreover, providing recycling and composting services and setting fees can help reduce the quantity of waste that will end up in landfills as well as discourage waste in the community (OECD, 2010, p. 125). Waste quantities can also be reduced through education campaigns coupled with collection services that offer both recycling and composting for consumer waste products (ibid, 125). Rising concerns over increasing rates of litter, landfill, and significant material losses in the industrial system resulted to environmental policies concerning product packaging.
According to Horne et al. (2009), product packaging generates tonnes of waste per day such as single-serve beverages, packaged ready-foods, and other mass-produced products including newspapers, magazines, and waste from fast-service restaurants (p. 148). In Australia for instance, the National Packaging Covenant or NPC is a national co-regulatory approach between government and industry to improve the environmental performance of consumer packaging. These include improving all stages of production, distribution, use, collection, reuse, recycling, reprocessing and disposal of waste from packaged products.
Moreover, it intends to reduce the material used in packaging and reducing the amount of packaging material discarded in landfills (ibid, p.149). Positive environmental impacts of recycling include the conservation of resources while reducing the emission of harmful gasses from landfills. Methane and carbon dioxide emissions occur when food, paper, and other rotting rubbish biodegrades without oxygen (Committee on Climate Change, 2008, p. 352). Reuse and material recycling reduce the overall amount of materials consumed and therefore reduce the quantity of waste discarded to landfills or burned in incinerators that are also producing a great amount of carbon dioxide (Carroon, 2010, p. 6).