Writing a Persuasive Essay

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1 INTRODUCTION Attention-getter Background information Do Something Good for the Earth Garbage! It smells bad and looks disgusting. Most people think about trash only when they take it out. People in the United States should be thinking about garbage more, Opinion statement BODY/Reason 1: Emotional appeal Statistics however, because they throw away 40 percent of all the garbage in the world. It may seem easy just to toss whatever we have finished using in the dumpster, but our wasteful ways have terrible consequences for our environment. The solution to this problem is recycling. Recycling is the best way to preserve natural resources and to reduce the costs of processing garbage. By recycling, we can prevent our country from being buried in trash. Much of the garbage that is now tossed out could be recycled. Of the 200 million tons of garbage that United States citizens produce yearly, about 42 percent is paper (from trees), 8 percent is glass, 9 percent is metal (from ore, a natural resource), 7 percent is plastic (from petroleum, a natural resource), 8 percent is food waste, and 18 percent is yard 1

2 waste. Government officials estimate that 60 percent of all this trash could be recycled. Environmentalists suggest a much higher figure as much as 70 to 90 percent. Reason 2: Logical appeal Anecdote Recycling more of our garbage can also save precious resources, such as trees, water, energy, and aluminum. My grandfather says the thick forests that once surrounded my Example Case studies Facts and statistics hometown have nearly vanished. By recycling newspapers, we can rescue trees from destruction. For example, recycling could help save some of the fifty thousand trees that are sacrificed every week to produce Sunday newspapers in the United States. We can also save water and energy by recycling, as shown by government studies. Recycling paper instead of making it from trees reduces the amount of water used to make the paper by 60 percent and the amount of energy by 70 percent. Aluminum cans show the biggest saving from recycling. To produce a can from recycled aluminum takes 95 percent less energy than from ore. Reason 3: Ethical appeal Because garbage disposal has become a particularly 2

3 Facts and statistic Example and Facts thorny problem, recycling more can reduce the mountains of garbage we produce and reduce the financial and environmental costs associated with all the landfills where the garbage is dumped and with the incineration, or burning, of garbage. Garbage does not just disappear after it is hauled away. It usually goes into landfills many of which have created toxic pollution problems and enormous cleanup costs. Currently, 61 percent of municipal waste goes into landfills. In the highly populated areas that generate the most garbage, the land used for landfills will not be available for other use for a long time because some garbage items do not break down easily. For example, under some conditions newspapers may not break down for forty years. Also, because many plastics, glass, and synthetic materials may take centuries to decompose, the land used for landfills may never be returned to its original state. When landfills close, they must be monitored for years. Therefore, landfills are expensive. Facts Landfills are also not safe. Although landfills are lined with clay, plastic, or other materials to keep leachate (water 3

4 contaminated by garbage) from leaking into the water supply, many, if not all, landfills develop leaks, requiring expensive Case study cleanup operation. A study by researchers at Texas A & M University has found that leachate from municipal landfills Reason 4: Logical appeal Statistic Examples contains toxic chemicals as harmful as those from industrial waste landfills. Clearly landfills operate at huge cost to the economy and to the earth. Recycling could reduce the air and water pollution associated with another traditional method of garbage disposal incineration. In 2001, about seven percent of the garbage in the United States was incinerated. At first thought, incinerators might seem to be a more environmentally friendly option than landfills. However, incinerators produce at least 210 different organic chemicals which are either released into the air or remain in the ash, which is then dumped in landfills. One of the most toxic of the chemicals is dioxin, present in the smoke of the incinerated garbage and in the leachate from landfills that contain incinerator ash. Other toxic byproducts of garbage incineration include mercury and lead, both hazardous 4

5 Counterclaim addressed Expert opinion Facts and statistics contaminants, and particulate matter that can lodge permanently in a person s lungs. Clearly, then, incineration of our garbage is also very costly not only to the environment but to our health. People often object to recycling by saying that that it costs too much. Brenda Platt of the Institute for Local Self- Reliance says, Studies have concluded that recycling costs less than traditional trash collection and disposal when communities achieve high levels of recycling." Therefore, people should understand that recycling actually saves money by reducing waste and by eliminating the costs that go along with solid-waste disposal and landfill cleanup. Recycling actually benefits the economy. Approximately 56,000 United States companies are involved in the recycling/reuse industry. In 2001, these companies converted millions of tons of recyclables into products worth at least $236 billion, creating new jobs and employing over 1.1 million people in the process. Because of its success, the 5

6 recycling/reuse industry seems likely to continue booming. Moreover, the broader impact of the recycling/reuse industry has produced 1.4 million jobs with $173 billion added to the economy. Counterclaim 2 addressed Facts Others object to recycling because they believe that certain resources are being resupplied. For example, some believe that paper does not need to be recycled because more trees are being planted to fill our need for paper than are being cut. However, this argument fails to take into account that the high rate of cutting and replanting is turning natural forests into tree plantations. This problem is especially severe in the South, where the acreage of pine tree plantations will soon be greater than the area of remaining natural pine forests. Tree plantations provide poorer animal habitat and less biodiversity than natural forests. Counterclaim 3 addressed Another objection to recycling is that it takes too much personal time and trouble. Many cities, however have curbside recycling programs that make it easy to do the right thing for 6

7 Facts and statistics the Earth. In 2001, there were 9,709 curbside recycling programs in the United States, serving approximately 50 Reason 5: Logical appeal Examples percent of the population. By keeping separate bins for recyclables, a person may sort garbage before throwing it away. Then, setting the bins out by the curb for pick up is easy. Even many apartment buildings now have recycling facilities. As recycling becomes a regular part of life in the United States, reasons not to recycle will become just excuses. Perhaps the excuses not to recycle will even vanish. We all can think of recycling as everyone s opportunity. Recycling materials can begin on a personal level with very simple things. For example, yard and kitchen waste make up about 10 percent of garbage in the United States. Composting weeds, grass trimmings, dead leaves, and kitchen scraps (excluding meat scraps) instead of sending them to the landfill is easy. For those that live in an apartment, vermicomposting using earthworms to help recycle kitchen wastes is an acceptable option. For those who have room for a compost pile or bin, adding water and air will create compost 7

8 Reason 6: Emotional appeal Example Expert opinion that then can be reused as fertilizers for lawns, gardens, or houseplants. Wearable clothing and household items are some of the easiest products to recycle to thrift stores. Thrift stores then offer these items at a good value. Some shoppers find unusual and one-of-a-kind items that have been recycled, giving rise to the old saying, One person s trash is another person s treasure! All the economic and environmental reasons to recycle are compelling, but an equally strong argument for recycling is based on a respect for the Earth and for all forms of life. Our ancestors wasted nothing if possible. Because they struggled for survival, they took nothing for granted, but valued animals, tools, and food sources as something precious. In this same spirit President Theodore Roosevelt said in a 1907 speech to Congress, To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed. During World War II, 8

9 recycling was a sign of intense patriotism for the efforts of Commonly held beliefs those fighting for freedom overseas. Today, many of us do not struggle as our ancestors did, but their heritage of recycling and CONCLUSION Restated opinion Summary of reasons Call to action respect for the Earth is still valuable. When we waste resources, we express an attitude of disrespect for the Earth. When we throw away useable items, we express disrespect for the thousands of people who lack them. By showing respect for our planet and all those who share it, we create a special environment that fosters health, growth, and happiness of all people. Much of what is thrown away now can be recycled. Anyone who loves the earth can help make it a better place by recycling. Garbage makes our shared home, this planet, less livable for the people of today and for the children of tomorrow. People have caused this garbage crisis, and only people can solve it. Do you care enough to do your part by recycling? 9

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