Food Waste In United States

In average, an American citizen will produce 4.4 pounds of trash in a single day. With the population of the United States being about 324 million, this equates daily to about 700,000 tons of trash produced. The biggest amount of wasted resources, though, is food waste. 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted across the globe in the span of one year (Loki). The effect of this kind of waste on the environment is extremely destructive and detrimental. Gases like carbon dioxide and methane wear down on the atmosphere, causing global warming. If Americans do not take the necessary steps to reduce the unnecessary amount of trash and waste produced, the environment will continue to decline and cities and towns will become wastelands. Recycling and reducing waste has many benefits. Americans across the nation should recycle and cut down on the number of resources wasted with just a few simple measures.

The benefits of recycling have lasting positive effects on the environment and the well-being of planet Earth. Not only does it reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, but it also conserves natural resources like timber, water, and minerals (Recycling Basics). Trash that is not transported correctly can make its way to oceans and rivers. This trash ruins natural habitats and is toxic to animals that accidentally consume of it. Chemicals transferred through plastic that is consumed by animals have detrimental effects on the food chain (Impacts of Mismanaged Trash). Through recycling, though, trash is collected and repurposed to give waste other purposes that do not include killing innocent animals.

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Recycling provides jobs and support to American manufacturing, saves energy, and reduces pollution. According to Recycling Basics, over 757,000 jobs have been produced in recent times because of the recycling industry. Recovered materials are now being used to make newspaper, paper towels, soft drink containers, laundry detergent bottles, carpet, park benches, and asphalt used in making roads. If trash is sent to landfills, though, it often takes hundreds to thousands of years to decompose. LeBlanc said, Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose. Normally, plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. But plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10-1000 years to decompose, while plastic bottles can take 450 years or more. If glass is recycled, it can be melted down to make more glass. If it is sent to landfills, though, it takes millions of years to decompose or may not decompose at all (LeBlanc). With repurposing materials that have already been used, Americans can reduce the amount of paper, plastic, glass, and metal that is building up in landfills and oceans.

Besides trash destroying the planet, food waste also causes destruction to the environment. Because food is thrown in the trash and then taken to landfills, carbon dioxide is produced and causes severe global warming. Methane, another powerful greenhouse gas, is 84 times as harmful as carbon dioxide. With an estimated 222 million tons of food wasted per year in developed countries like America, one can just imagine how much this amount of food devastates the Earth (Loki). In less developed countries, food waste occurs due to mold and insect infestations because of poor storage. Contrastingly, food waste in America is caused by another factor. Most Americans waste food in their very own kitchens. According to 8 Facts to Know About Food Waste and Hunger, Roughly 30% to 40% of the food supply in the U.S. is wasted, which works out to more than 20 pounds of food per person per month. If Americans do not take responsibility for how food is wasted, the environment will continue to deteriorate and world hunger will remain a problem for decades to come.

Americans can utilize several doable methods to reduce the amount of trash that is mishandled and food wasted. Instead of buying individual packages of snacks and produce, choose to purchase in bulk. To divide out these large amounts of food, implement reusable containers. Plan with these ingredients to avoid letting good food spoil. In doing this, money is saved, trash build-up is lessened, and resources are used properly. Separate glass, aluminum, paper, and plastic to be placed in curbside bins, drop-off centers, or they can even be sent to deposit and refund organizations. Utilizing compost bins for food scraps along with yard waste can greatly decrease the amount of waste that is transferred. Instead of throwing away used printer paper, use it as scratch paper to jot down quick notes or lists (Loki). Applying these reasonable measures to one’s everyday life can greatly decrease the amount of waste that is produced over time.

Trash and food waste can build up and have harmful effects on the world and its resources. If Americans do not take responsibility for the amount of waste that is produced, hunger, pollution, and decomposition will continue to increase. The processes of recycling lead to economic growth and health of nature and humans. Reducing food waste can help to decrease hunger and global warming. With just a few simple measures taken by all Americans, the effects of trash and food waste can be slowed down.

History Of Gun-Control Legislation

On February 14, 2018 a gunman opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. Seventeen people were killed, while an additional seventeen were injured from the gunfire (Gonzalez). This shooting has sparked the most intense gun control debate since the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. The recent debates have prompted senators, legislators, activists, and congressmen to propose new bills in hope to reduce gun violence in America. Gun control has been an extremely controversial topic for the past two decades, yet no measures have been taken that have had significant impact. Lawmakers have been attempting to come up with necessary solutions for this national epidemic. In fact, numerous ideas have been put forward in attempt to reduce the problem (Sarlin). Of those primary proposals being considered, only a select few will help make the difference America needs while still upholding the people’s second amendment.

Changes in gun laws are necessary for one reason: shootings. As of December 6, there have been 13,539 recorded shootings that resulted in fatality in 2018 alone Gun Violence Archive. An additional 26,149 people have been injured by a firearm during the same time period Gun Violence Archive. These numbers will continue to increase until preventative action is taken. Gun-related crimes and homicides in the United States are significantly higher than those of any other high-income country. A study was conducted in 2010 examining homicide rates in America in comparison with other high-income countries (Grinshteyn). The study found that homicides by guns are 25.2 times higher, while the overall firearm death rate in the US is ten times higher than any other high-income country in the world (Grinshteyn). Since 2010, gun violence has continued to grow into a national epidemic. Reforms need to be made regarding gun laws in order to keep this problem from becoming unstoppable.

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The second amendment is what constituted and protects our right as an American to purchase and possess a firearm. It reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed (Strasser). As gun violence in the US proceeds, and new laws are being put in place in attempt to protect American citizens, the second amendment needs to be upheld at all costs. It is what gives the law-abiding people of the United States the ability to protect themselves from whatever form of evil that strikes against them.

One of the primary proposals the US Congress has been considering to put in action is the federal ban of bump stocks. A bump stock is a modification that can be added to an assault rifle in order to produce gunfire which resembles that of a fully automatic weapon (Vitkovskaya). This is what allowed the Las Vegas shooter the ability to fire an estimate of ninety rounds in less than a minute (Raphelson). Any sportsman knows that this attachment is never necessary for neither hunting nor recreational shooting. It solely allows criminals and mass shooters a simple way to wreak an immense amount of havoc on selected groups of people. The 1934 National Firearms Act imposes regulation on dangerous weapons as well as fully automatic machine guns (McCarthy). Previously, a ruling was made to regulate bump stocks under that same 1934 Firearms Act, but Donald Trump intends to ban them all together (McCarthy). Getting rid of these dangerous and unnecessary attachments all together could very well be what it takes to lessen the intensity of mass shootings.

Another proposal being contemplated by officials on Capitol Hill is modifying and expanding the background check system (Sarlin). Currently, there is a background check system which shows retailers whether or not an individual is eligible to purchase a firearm, but there are flaws in this system. According to Benjy Sarlin from NBC News, this bill aims to correct failures in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that allowed the shooter who killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, to legally buy a gun despite a domestic violence conviction in the Air Force. The modification of the point-of-purchase background check system would ensure that every individuals criminal record would show up as they attempt to buy a gun.

Another improvement this modification could entail is reforming the health care systems so that mental health records would also be visible for someone intending to purchase a firearm (Swanson). Studies show that roughly sixty percent of the gunmen involved in 185 mass shootings had previously been diagnosed with or shown symptoms of some form of a serious mental illness (Chen). Similar studies have shown that an individual with a serious mental health problem are 3.6 times more likely to engage in violent behaviors (Chen). As shown, mental health has played a significant role in the devastating mass shootings that have occurred in the United States. Keeping guns out of the hands of individuals with either a dangerous criminal record, or a serious mental illness, would play a significant role in minimizing the amount of mass shootings that occur in America.

A third idea being considered in attempt to resolve the gun violence issue is assault weapons being nationally banned (McCarthy). This modification would not have nearly as much effect as many would assume for a variety of reasons. If this law would be put into action, it would eliminate the sale of certain military-style semi-automatic rifles, such as AR-15’s, as well as any magazine that can hold more than ten rounds (). Mike Dunham, a Stanford Education Graduate, authored an article regarding the potential ban of assault weapons. He uncovered statistics which revealed that rifles of any kind (not just assault) were involved in 248 killings in 2014, while handguns were involved in 5,562 (Dunham). Additionally, this ban had already been enacted from 1994 until 2004 (Plumer). Researchers studied the effects that this ban had on gun violence the year it began, the year it expired, as well as seven years after it had ended. In 1994, the first year with the ban, there were 17,527 firearm homicides, while In 2004 when it had expired, there were 11,101 (Roman). In 2011, seven years after the ban had been eliminated, there were 11,101 murders with a gun (Roman). Thus, statistics show there was no measurable effect on gun-related homicides without assault weapons being legal.

Gun control activists as well as certain legislators are also proposing the increase of age required to buy a legal rifle or shotgun (Sarlin). Currently, you must be eighteen years of age to buy a rifle or shotgun, but it’s suggested to raise the age to twenty-one.

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