We’ve all heard about the steps people are taking to combat global warming. We’ve all heard about the reduction of plastic straws.

Starbucks has started a movement. We know that we need to change, but why has it taken the endangerment of various species for us to recognize our faults?

According to plasticoceans.org, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. This means trash not only is dumped where it does not belong, but also has a way to travel across the world. An article published by the BBC reveals microplastics have been found in places as remote as Antarctica.

We know dumping our trash on the ground is wrong and we should recycle, but why are we still facing this problem? Why are we continuously faced with these horrible realities and almost forced into change?

In the past year, awareness for plastic waste has increased immensely. We have seen the movement of saving the sea turtles from plastic straws that has inspired many people to go straw free. Studies have shown businesses that switch to more eco-friendly products can actually save money. Still, we often find businesses use more plastic, which still ends up all over the world.

Maybe it has less to do with the fact that businesses don’t offer non-recyclable materials, but rather don’t offer recycling for the material they already use. If I go to a business that doesn’t offer receptacles for separate trash and recycling, it is not as if I will take my plastic water bottle with me to find a place to recycle. We all know we should recycle, but without the option, most of us won’t take the extra step to recycle.

Sometimes we only recycle things we see as good enough for recycling, even though there are plenty of things we could recycle but don’t. A dented can we would throw in the trash, but a can in good condition we would place in recycling, even though both cans are equally recyclable.

This seems like a very strange reason not to do something we all know we should do, but it is evident many Americans do not recycle, and many people see it as a burden or too complicated. Reports show it may have something to do with the way many businesses put the recycling symbol on their products, even though they may not be recyclable.

Often times we are faced with the dilemma of wanting to recycle but not knowing what exactly goes into the bins. Recycle Now offers some helpful tips on how to get started with your local recycling programs and offers a guide on what exactly can go into the bins. 

Many college campuses have recycling receptacles readily available and should be used. This has made the topic even more prevalent for many, including myself, and has made me realize how much recyclable trash I produce. I realize now how easy it is for me to recycle and just how much of a difference this community can make.

Our college campus is too large to miss out on the opportunity to help the planet. Taking further initiative by recycling plastic is a great step in the right direction. Efforts made at Texas Tech could even help the city of Lubbock become even greener. We may be able to expand upon the limited number of items the city can recycle.

Ultimately, it is up to us to make change. Everyday habits can turn into years of progress. We only have one planet, and we are beginning to see what happens if we don’t take care of it. It is up to us to preserve our home, and the homes of the various species of life that also occupy it.

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