How Can I Reuse? LESSON 2

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1 How Can I Reuse? LESSON 2

2 Why Should I Reuse? When you reuse something that means that an item is used several times before throwing it away or recycling it. Just as recycling materials help keep them out of our landfills, preserves our natural resources and helps the overall environment, reusing items is also a great way to make an impact, and it is the second most important method of reducing the amount of waste we produce and put into landfills. Reusing items also reduces our overall water and air pollution and greenhouse gases. How Can I Reuse Items? The next time you go to recycle or trash something, take a moment to think about its potential uses. Can it be donated to a school, non-profit or other organization? Could you use it in a way other than its intended purpose, or upcycle it? Be creative, and you can reduce the amount of waste you, your family and your school contribute to our landfills, while at the same time helping your community. If you have an item that you think may be of value, get online and find someone who will appreciate your donation. You can also hold a garage or yard sale, find a place to trade items you are no longer using, or sell them at a second-hand store or flea market. There are reuse centers in most communities, ranging from specialized programs for building materials or unneeded materials in schools to places that collect items for those in need. What Can Be Reused? Just about anything you can think of can be reused in one way or another. All it takes is a little time to research organizations in your community that accept specific donations. Here are just a few examples: Office and school supplies and materials desks, tables, chairs, filing cabinets, shelves, notebooks, computers, fax machines, etc. Building materials lumber, doors, light fixtures, paint, windows, fixtures, fencing, plumbing items, etc. Food boxed, canned, bagged and other prepared foods Appliances and electronics refrigerators, stoves, freezers, televisions, phones, etc. Household Items furniture, dishes, glasses, toys, clothes, books, vehicles, blankets, sheets, etc. Remember, your junk may be someone else s treasure, so instead of trashing something, find a way to reuse it or donate it!

3 New Ways to Use Everyday Items Donate old blankets and towels to an animal shelter. Are your old books collecting dust? Sell them at a used book store or donate them to a school, hospital, daycare or senior facility. Instead of recycling those plastic or glass jars with lids, save them to store leftovers, pastas, rice, or even screws or other small pieces. Cut out the artwork and wording on greeting cards to make gift tags, new cards, postcards, ornaments and other decorations. Have your Christmas tree, or any dead tree, chipped, and use it for mulch and trail covering. Prescription changed? Donate your old glasses to an organization that replaces the lenses for those who can t afford glasses. Keep those plastic egg containers, and donate them to a school to use for a divided paint palette. Use cardboard boxes in the garden to block weeds and insulate plants during cold weather. It will eventually decompose and enhance the soil. Cut the end off your old toothpaste container, clean it out well, and use it to store scissors or knives in the drawer. It s a perfect finger protector! These are just a few ideas to get you started. The ways in which you reuse things are limited only by your imagination!

4 Tornado in a Bottle Materials Needed Two PET drink bottles with labels removed Water (with food coloring added, if you d like) Paper towels Plastic bottle neck joiner Strong tape Instructions 1. Remove plastic rings from the necks of the PET bottles. 2. Fill half of one bottle with water. 3. Dry the opening of the bottle with a paper towel and place the bottle neck joiner over it. 4. Place the second bottle upside down on top of the bottle joiner. 5. Secure the bottles together with strong tape. 6. Turn the bottles upside down so that the bottle containing the water is on top and observe what happens. 7. Hold the lower bottle with one hand and the upper bottle with the other hand. 8. Stand the bottles upright, with the empty bottle remaining underneath. 9. Support the lower bottle while quickly moving the top of the upper bottle in a clockwise circle. 10. Stand the bottles upright, with the empty bottle remaining underneath. NOTE: The water inside the top bottle swirls, forming a funnel shape (or vortex) as it pours into the bottom bottle. The vortex created in the fluid is the same shape as that produced by a tornado.

5 Pen Cap Sinker Ever wondered how a submarine manages to sink to the bottom of the ocean and then rise again upon command? What scientific principle is involved that allows an object to both sink and float? This experiment will provide insight into how the procedure really works: Instructions: 1. Fill a plastic bottle with water. 2. Attach a piece of clay to the arm of a plastic pen cap. 3. Put the cap in the bottle so that it floats. 4. Put the lid on the bottle and tighten so that it does not leak any air. 5. Squeeze the sides of the bottle. Note: By squeezing the bottle, you increase the pressure inside, thus forcing more water up into the pen cap. The added water in the cap increases its weight and causes the cap to sink. A submarine works along these same principles. If the average density of the submarine is less than that of the water then the submarine will float. If the average density of the submarine is more than that of the water then the sub will sink (or dive in submarine terminology). While the submarine contains a lot of air it also contains a lot of steel (which has a high density). It s the average density that makes the submarine act the way it does.

6 Turning Trash into Treasure Reusing materials before they are thrown away can conserve landfill space and natural resources. Everything that we throw away does not have to be trash! Instructions 1. Start by filling a trash can with various items (paper, plastic and glass bottles, magazines, cans, boxes, etc.), and explain to the class that these are things that would normally have been thrown away, never to be used again. 2. Have your students come up one at a time and take an item out of the trash can. Have them use that item to create something whatever they would like - a picture, a sculpture, jewelry, etc. 3. With the leftover material in the can, decorate an old box to make it look like a treasure chest. 4. Have the students write a short essay about the trash and the item they just made. Where did it come from? What did it become? What other uses could it have? 5. Have the students present their new creations to the class, and then place their "treasure" in the chest. 6. Point out that the garbage can is now empty. The students have now both reduced the amount of garbage that has to be disposed of and reused it to make something new. 7. The treasure chest can be put on display in the school to encourage others to reuse.

7 Wise Use of Paper Many of our daily habits are wasteful regarding the use of paper. Getting Started Ask the students how much paper they think they use. How much do they think they waste? Instructions 1. Each day have the students place paper that would normally have been thrown away into two boxes. In one box, place paper that has been completely used (i.e., written on both sides). In the other, pile paper that has been only partially used or not used at all. 2. At the end of the day select a student to weigh each stack of paper and have the class graph the results. 3. Follow this procedure every day for a week and discuss the following: Were you surprised at the amount of paper that was wasted? What is the effect of this waste on our natural resources and landfills? How can people change their habits so that there is less waste? 4. Repeat the same activity for a second week. How different were the results? List on the board the different ways the students tried to conserve paper. Are there other items that are sometimes thrown away before they are completely used? Extensions 1. Using the results obtained above, have the class determine how much paper it would waste in a month. In a year? How much paper would the class save in a month or a year if it reduced its paper consumption by one-half? By one-quarter? 2. Working in small groups, have the class list the paper products they use at home or at school. In a parallel column, have them list products that could be used in their place (e.g., dishcloths instead of paper towels, handkerchiefs for paper tissues).

8 Recycle Art Ask students to bring in one clean, dry trash item from home, such as an old glass jar, milk jug, egg carton, paper towel roll, etc. Explain that students will be making something new and useful out of their objects. Give students some time to brainstorm new uses for their objects, and then provide them with glue, markers, paint, stamps, and other art materials to decorate the objects. You could also place them in teams for this project. When they are done, have each student or team present her item to the class and explain what it originally was used for and how they thought of the idea. You can also have them research and explain what the item would have done to the environment had it just been thrown away.

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