Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Recycling is an important issue when dealing with solid waste. It keeps many tons of garbage out of our landfills and prolongs landfill life. Although many people in the Bowling Green area participate in the mandatory recycling program, there are still many who do not. The number of people who participate in the program has steadily grown over the past five years; however, there are still many people who need to get involved. This research argues that much effort has been put into recycling in recent years at the global, national, and local level. However, it also argues that even more remains to be done, especially at the local level. I have conducted a sixty-day field study of both commercial and residential sites in the Bowling Green area. This field study shows that everyday there are many recyclables as well as other items placed into the trash that need not go into our garbage. This field study will also show that there are some very wasteful industries in Bowling Green. They are throwing food items away that could be used to help hungry people in the Bowling Green vicinity. It will also show that some industries, such as Houchens Markets, throw recyclables such as cardboard into their dumpster even though they have a cardboard bailer on the premises. This research will also offer reasons for people choosing not to use the recycling program. I have conducted a survey of one hundred people who live in the Bowling Green area. This survey shows that one reason some people do not use the recycling program is that they feel they are forced to do it. A few people went so far as to say that they feel the recycling program is a form of communism, and they will not use the program for that reason. I have also included entire matrices from both the residential and commercial study areas. These matrices list every item that I found during this field study. I have also included some recommendations for increased participation in the recycling program, as well as some suggestions for the industries as to how they could dispose of their unwanted food items and help the general public at the same time. I wish people could see the Earth the way that I see it. If they could, they wouldn't even think about recycling: it would become a part of their everyday routine.


Environmental Health and Protection | Geography