Encourage Responsible Packaging by Recycling Domestically

Target: Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Encourage the U.S. to take responsibility for the excessive waste it accumulates by recycling it domestically instead of sending it overseas.

Recyclables have become one of the U.S.’s largest exports. Other countries want raw materials coming from the U.S. and the U.S. is happy to get rid of them. But this means there is no incentive for companies to reduce waste because Americans don’t have to deal with the harmful repercussions involved in recycling it. Peasants living in plastic and electronic waste dumps in countries like China and India deal with it instead. Tell the Environmental Protection Agency that the U.S. needs to take care of its own garbage instead of sending it overseas.

About 80% of the electronics that Americans recycle are sent overseas for processing. In many cases, unsafe and unregulated recycling practices result in major health and environmental problems. Hundreds of millions of tons of e-waste have been dumped yearly in one part of Ghana, giving it the name Sodom and Gomorrah due to its water being the most polluted on the planet. Additionally, adults and children are exposed to toxic fumes while melting plastics to retrieve copper wires during the recycling process.

Most of the plastics we recycle are sent to China where safety standards for workers are often nonexistent and processing takes place in toxic, unhygienic conditions. And because plastics are made from petroleum, they need to be melted down in order to be recycled. So workers making around $1.50 a day breathe in toxic emissions without wearing protective gear all day long. Small children can sometimes be found sorting through bags of shredded plastic for hours, also being exposed to toxic fumes.

Perhaps if Americans were forced to live in recycling villages where they inhale toxic fumes all day, more companies would be forced to find other ways to package materials or reduce e-waste. For the EPA to allow recyclables to be shipped to other countries under the guise that “it’s helpful for both economies” is a twisted lie of convenience. Taking care of our own waste would not only force companies to find ways to reduce packaging and electronic waste, it would open up jobs with tight safety and health regulations for Americans.

Urge the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment and people by no longer allowing recycling waste to be sent overseas.


Dear Environmental Protection Agency,

Environmental protection should not be limited to just the United States; it should include the entire planet. Allowing the U.S. to make billions of dollars shipping recyclable waste overseas at other people’s expense, many of whom are children, makes you guilty of child abuse and potentially even manslaughter.  It wouldn’t be acceptable for American children to live in toxic waste dumps, but apparently you think it’s acceptable for children in third world countries.

Your name states that you exist to protect the environment, but you’re not doing so in this case. You’re simply moving an unhealthy environmental problem elsewhere, thereby encouraging businesses to continue creating wasteful, single-use products, excessive packaging. You are also encouraging electronics to continue being produced and discarded at rapid rates. It’s time to start protecting the environment across the planet, not just in America. We stand together in asking you to help reduce waste and improve worker conditions by ceasing to allow recyclables to be processed overseas.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: gvisionaries.wordpress.com

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