Why Do I Need to Recycle? LESSON 1

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1 Why Do I Need to Recycle? LESSON 1

2 Recycling Benefits Everyone The earth has a limited amount of space with limited resources that must sustain us all. We cannot keep wasting our resources and polluting our land! Recycling is the answer. When we recycle our newspapers, bottles and cans, we are saving these materials for future use. When you waste these materials, you could be trashing your grandchildren s future! Recycling conserves energy as well as resources. Recycling one ton of paper saves: 4,100 kilowatts of electricity 17 trees 7000 gallons of water (this could fill 2 tanker trucks) What Can Be Recycled? These are just a FEW of the many things that can be recycled and/or reused: Plastic Paper (newspaper, office/school paper, corrugated cardboard, magazines, catalogs, telephone directories and unwanted "junk" mail) Aluminum Tin and steel cans Glass (clear and colored) Yard waste Computers and other electronics Motor oil Car batteries Recycling Conserves Energy We all know that people produce a lot waste and that it s necessary to recycle as much as we can to keep from filling up our nation s landfills too quickly. But did you also know that the simple act of recycling saves as much as 95 percent of energy? Preserving our planet s natural resources and promoting a healthy environment depend on our efforts to conserve energy. Recycling is just one of the many things you can do to stay energy efficient. Did you know? Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours. Recycling 1 glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours. Production of recycled paper saves 60 percent more energy than manufacturing new paper. Production of recycled aluminum saves 95 percent more energy than new aluminum. Production of recycled glass saves 50 percent more energy than new glass.

3 How Long Will Litter Last? Aluminum cans Glass bottles Plastic bags Plastic jug Tin soup can Disposable diaper Rubber boot sole Leather Wool sock Orange and banana peels Cigarette butts years 1,000,000 years years 1,000, 000 years years 500 years years 50 years 1 year 3-4 weeks 1-5 years How Do You Recycle? By now, we all know that recycling benefits everyone, but are there specific guidelines about what should or should not be recycled? Contact your local recycler for specific details in your area, but below are some things to keep in mind when recycling: Make sure things are clean. Rinse bottles and cans, and keeping boxes out of the weather makes them easier to process. Pay attention to what goes into your bin. A cereal box would be great, but a greasy pizza box might not be best. Make sure you take the caps off of plastic jugs and bottles. Instead of throwing out your yard waste, create a mulch pile to save room in the landfill. Things you probably won t want to recycle: styrofoam, light bulbs, food-soiled paper, wax paper and ceramics. Did You Know? All steel products are 100 percent recyclable. Recycling aluminum reduces energy use by 90 percent. Recycling paper reduces air pollution by 74 percent. For every pound of recycled PET flake used, energy use is reduced by 84 percent and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced

4 Recycling Economics We all know that recycling is great for the environment, but it s good for the economy as well. Recycling is not a new business. It has been done for years only where convenient and economically profitable. However, now that we are facing problems because there is so much garbage, recycling laws are being implemented, and recycling is becoming a very popular, cost-avoidance method of disposal. In this activity, students learn the economics of business, using recycling as an example. Some key words to discuss with your students include: fixed costs, variable costs, and cost avoidance. Have your students answer the economic questions on the following page and discuss their reasons for some of their answers. With this activity, students also learn a little about how a recycling center does business. Helpful definitions: Fixed Cost: Costs that remain unchanged, no matter how much business is done. These costs may include insurance, labor, rent, heat, telephone, taxes and advertising. Variable Cost: Costs that rise and fall as business increases or decreases. These costs may include labor, electricity, gasoline and repairs.

5 Recycling Economics Answer the following questions about the economics of recycling: 1. List some examples of fixed costs that a recycling center might have. 2. List some examples of variable costs that a recycling center might have. 3. If a recycling center s fixed costs total $1,200 a month and 60,000 pounds are being processed, how much is being spent per pound for fixed cost? 4. How much per pound is left for variable cost and profit out of a 5 cent per pound difference between the amount paid to can collectors and the amount received from an aluminum company? 5. If the center can process 120,000 pounds a month without increasing fixed costs of $1,200, how much is then being spent per pound for fixed costs? 6. How much per pound is left for variable costs and profit? 7. Can you explain why a recycling business may earn more money as the number of cans collected increases?

6 Earth Day Activities Here are a few ways your school can celebrate: Contests: Hold a photography, art, poster or essay contest for students. All entries can be displayed at the school and used to bring an education component to your environmental activities. Earth Day Fair: Plan an event that includes games, educational booths and a recycling/reuse drive. This is a great opportunity to work with other schools and your community to expand your environmental efforts. You can even register your event at Beautify Your School: Plant a tree, create a garden, organize a clean-up of the school grounds, paint needed areas, the possibilities are endless. Play: Have students create environmental games that are both educational and fun! Students can gather information about environmental topics (energy use, water, recycling, reusing, reducing, etc.), and then use that to create a game to teach others about the topic. Spend Earth Day playing games in class and learning from each other, while having a little fun. Remember, no matter how you choose to celebrate Earth Day, it s the things we each do every day that make a big difference. Earth Day is April 22

7 Graph the Litter in your School Teach students the importance of putting litter in its place. Ever wonder how much litter is around your school? Here is a way for students to track the amount of litter in a set area. 1. Divide students into small groups, and assign different sections of the school to each group. 2. At the same time each day, have students go to that particular section of the school grounds and count and write down how many pieces of glass, paper, plastic, and other litter they can find. 3. When sufficient data is collected after a set period of time, have them import the data that they have collected into a spreadsheet program. 4. Use column headings such as date, area, paper, plastic, bottles, glass, etc. 5. While they are using the spreadsheet program, get them to graph their results. 6. When your students have finished graphing their results, print out their documents and present them to the class. 7. Students can then create posters to place around the school showing how much litter was found in each area and reminding others where to place litter and recyclables. 8. Students can also brainstorm ways to decrease litter in the worst areas, and then create a program to make it happen.

8 Word Search

9 Toxic Waste Take a look around your house, and you ll probably find at least one product that could be considered a household hazardous waste. Household hazardous waste is any leftover household product that contains corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients. These products include paints, cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides; and they require special care when you dispose of them. Improper disposal of household hazardous waste can include pouring them down the drain on the ground, into storm sewers, or even in throwing them out with the trash. Here are two ways you can reduce your hazardous waste impact: 1. Consider reducing your use of products that contain hazardous ingredients. Find more natural and environmentally products to replace harsh chemicals and cleaners in your house and school. 2. When you re ready to dispose of the hazardous materials already in your home and school, check with your local community waste facility about the different ways you can dispose of them. Some communities have permanent collections and exchanges in which these products are often reused. Other communities have special collection days, or you might also be able to drop certain products off at certain businesses for recycling or proper disposal. For example, some garages may accept used motor oil for recycling. Facts on Household Hazardous Waste Americans generate 1.6 million tons of HHW per year The average home can accumulate as much as 100 pounds of HHW.

10 Reduce Your E-Waste E-Waste is a term used for any type of electronic waste. Things like cell phones, computers, TVs and other electronics usually fly under the radar when it comes to recycling. Many electronic companies now have programs for recycling old gadgets. You can turn in your old cell phone or computer for a discount on your new purchase. Do the earth a favor by thinking twice before you toss out your old, electronics. Did you know? 80 to 85% of electronic products were discarded in landfills or incinerators, which can release certain toxics into the air. E-waste represents 2% of America's trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. The extreme amount of lead in electronics alone causes damage in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the blood and the kidneys. 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year. Cell phones and other electronic items contain high amounts of precious metals like gold or silver. Americans dump phones containing over $60 million in gold/silver every year. Only 12.5% of e-waste is currently recycled. What can you do? The next time you go to buy a new laptop, cell phone or tablet, find an electronics retailer with a recycling electronics program. Partner with an electronics recycler in your area, and start an electronics drive at your school to collect and recycle unwanted electronics. Donate old electronics to a charity instead of throwing them away. Do you really need a new computer? Instead of purchasing something new, consider upgrading what you have. You ll save money and the environment!

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