What in your surroundings is most important to you? List 10 things. Did air or water or trees make the list? Chances are they didn’t - we often take them for granted. Air, water, and land are increasingly being filled or contaminated by the things people throw away. In the past, reducing, reusing, and recycling were ways for people to save money. Your great-grandparents reused glass bottles and sewed up the holes in their socks because their money went to keeping a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. Today, people “reduce, reuse, and recycle” for many reasons. Biking or walking reduces air pollution, saves money, develops leg muscles, and promotes a healthy heart. Second-hand stores sell cool, inexpensive clothing that others have outgrown. Using red wiggler worms to eat your kitchen waste will create a rich fertilizer for your plants and reduce the amount of garbage you throw away. Everyday decisions add up to big impacts on the environment. Often, the choices we make to preserve the environment also create a lifestyle that is less expensive and healthier for us.
So choose to recycle! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Activity 1 – Spend Some Time With Garbage!!!
How much garbage do you create? For one week, collect all of your family’s garbage in garbage and recycling bags. At the end of the week, weigh your garbage and chart how much your family accumulated. Now find out national averages about garbage and compare your family’s accumulation to the national average. Next, find out where the garbage goes once it leaves your house. Write five paragraphs about your research findings on garbage. Be sure to conclude with your vision for the future of garbage.
Garbage go away!!
Activity 2 – Reduce Your Waste
First, take a home recycling survey: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/recyquiz.htm. Next, think of ways to reduce your waste.
What can you reuse? What can you recycle? What can you reduce? What can you rethink?
Activity 3 – Recycle Something
What materials are recyclable? Create a list of recyclable materials and find the major groups that are recycled. This is a useful link: http://www.metrokc.gov/dnr/kidsweb/master_list.htm. After making your list, try making choices between recycling, composting, charity, or true garbage. Instead of throwing something away, think of a creative way to reuse it.
Choose recycling! Choose composting! Choose charity! Choose reuse!
Activity 4 – The Art of Recycling
How can you engage your school or your community to appreciate the benefits of recycling? Take a close look at the recycling symbol. How could you modify or alter it to attract more attention to recycling and the benefits it could bring to your community. How could a redesign of the recycling symbol build specific identity for your community? Interview people in your community showing the recycling symbol. Create a survey for them. Ask them if it is motivational for their recycling purposes or informational about what should be recycled and the benefits of recycling. Use design thinking and word webs to brainstorm ideas. Develop three to five alternatives. Present them to your city’s recycling business. Be a sustainability entrepreneur!
Activity 5 – e-Waste Recycling
Take a look around your house. How many electrical devices do you have? Computers, TVs, microwaves, cell phones, refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners? All of these are considered e-waste and can be recycled when they have reached their limit of use. Check out Facts on e-waste to see how much is in landfills in countries around the world. There are special certified places (e-Steward Certified that repair electrical equipment and R2 certified that disassembles and recycles the individual metals, plastics, glass, hard drives, and circuit board) products by type. Before you buy any new electrical product, be sure you recycle your old ones! Make a list of items in your home that will eventually contribute to e-waste. Sort the names of the items into a repair or recycled list. Do not let them end up in a landfill!
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle keeps:
- Reuse reduces the strain on valuable resources such as:
- Name the areas that hold our noncombustible, non-recyclable materials, as well as ash from incineration and residues from recycling.
- Reuse creates less of what when making a new or recycled item?
- You can do your part in helping the recycling by sorting what materials?
- Arup Engineering Food Waste for Bldg Insulation
- Assembly of Trash
- Bea Johnson Zero Waste Expert
- BEECO Green Sustainable Consumption Made Easy
- Buy, Use, Toss!
- Cheer Project Reusing Pine Needles
- Complete Guide to Electronic Waste Recycling
- David De Rothschild's Plastiki Expedition
- Earth Day Grocery Bag Project
- EPA Recycling Basics
- Get in the Scrap Program
- Home Recycling Survey
- Household Container Recycling (Rochester Institute)
- Household Waste Management
- My Garbology Interactive
- Planet Protectors Club
- Recology Artists Making Art out of Scavneged Waste
- Recycling 101
- Recycling Computers
- Recycling Paper and Glass
- Recycling Quiz
- Recycling with Ikea
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle UK
- Save the Food!
- Scraps Cooper Hewitt Exhibition
- TEACH ENgineering: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- The 4th Bin e-waste rescue
- The Clean Bin Project Movie
- The Story of Stuff
- Thing Thing
- Thomas Deininger Sculptural Assemblages
- Trash Track
- Video A BIG Vortex: The Danes Recycle and Make Public Art
- Video Get In the Scrap!
- Video Household Container Recycling Video
- Video Pedal for Compost
- Video Plastic Island
- Zero Waste Challenge
- Zero Waste Europe
- Zero Waste October