Present two factors contributing to the solid waste problem in the U.S. How could these factors be changed or controlled for the better? What problems are there with current recycling efforts? What is being done in your area relative to recycling?
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Two factors contributing to the solid waste problem in the U.S. are the high generation of waste and lack of recycling of materials. The generation of waste could be controlled better by reducing how much packaging is used for products. Another way is to make products last longer or to find ways to reuse or repurpose items so they do not end up in the landfill. The majority of municipal solid waste is paper products (about 40%). By recycling paper, metal, and glass, the amount of material going into the landfills would be reduced significantly. Yard waste comprises about 12% of municipal solid waste. Composting programs could also reduce this amount and provide a usable product (EPA, 2002). Problems with the current recycling programs are that they are not available in all areas and they can be costly to implement and maintain. If there were more incentives to consumers and for industries to use recycled materials this could be improved. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has many programs for recycling including recycling for fluorescent bulbs, motor oil, and electronics. In addition, they have programs for small businesses where the business owners can receive recognition and awards for their recycling efforts. Most counties offer curbside or drop-off locations for paper, cans, glass, and plastic (SCDHEC, 2012).EPA, 2002. Solid Waste Management: A Local Challenge with Global Impacts. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/ghg/f02026.pdfSCDHEC, 2012. Land & Waste Management. Retrieved from http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/lwm/recycle/
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