Did you know that there is an island in the Pacific ocean made up entirely of garbage and plastics? It's called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it's larger than the state of Texas. Not only is this pretty gross, it's also a really bad sign of how us humans treat our water resources. We humans have a great deal of impact on our oceans, but we also impact our ground water, rain water, and freshwater basins as well. Drinking water is becoming scarce in many parts of the globe, and in the future, water scarcity will be a real issue that millions of people will have to deal with on a daily basis. Humans are going to have to put their brains together to try and find answers to many of these problems, however, there is one simple answer that we already have, which can help our planet a great deal: recycling.

Recycling benefits our environment and ecosystem in many ways. Besides saving energy, it helps sustain our environment for future generations and allows us to conserve our natural resources. It also prevents pollution by lowering the need for raw materials and more water. Recycling allows us to send less waste to landfills and incinerators. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions which are contributing to our ever-changing global climate. We should recycle as much as we can to not only help our land, but also our water supplies.

Specifically recycling water bottles is important, because plastic water bottles are the most common pollutant on our beaches and in the ocean. One tenth of all the plastic made worldwide ends up in the ocean, and most of that goes down to the ocean floor. It will never degrade on the ocean floor. Polyethylene terephthalate plastic is the material that makes a water bottle. This does not biodegrade, but instead it photodegrades. This is when the bottle does not disintegrate, but instead breaks down into smaller pieces over time. This material pollutes our water and our land. It is also found in animals, including the ones that we use to produce meat, chicken and fish. This trash takes hundreds of years to decompose and will sit on the earth, in the ocean or in a landfill for that entire time. Recycling water bottles is vitally important also because it can kill any life that lives in or near bodies of water, such as birds, fish, seals, or dolphins. This cycle will not only kill living creatures, but it will disrupt food chains of many living things.

There are many different and creative ways to help protect our water. Recycling multiple types of trash is another way. Some items that can be recycled include aluminum, plastic, paper, cardboard and glass. Start by going through all of your mail and unsubscribe from needless mailings to save paper. Ask your parents to research your community's recycling information. Some communities recycle more items than others, and you want to recycle as much as possible. Your community may recycle different things, such as magazines, plastic bottle caps or plastic bags. You may be able to recycle dry cleaning bags, bread bags, the outer wrappers of paper towels, and toilet paper rolls. Don't ever give up the chance to recycle, even if you need to carry trash home to recycle it. Before you recycle, check to see if you can reuse the product in any way. You could also buy products that have previously been recycled, or are reusable like steel water bottles or reusable lunch bags. Try to look for the recycled symbol on all of your products' packaging.

As we continue to re-use and recycle, we are reducing the effects of climate change in the future. Humanity has been careless and has taken advantage of Earth's resources. It is time that we stop and think about recycling, reusing and repurposing all of our products. It is ideal to recycle more than the amount of trash that we produce.

To learn more about recycling to help our water, see the following links:

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