# Reduce Reduce Reduce. Reuse. Reuse. Recycle. Recycle. Lesson: Classroom Trash Audit. Background. Procedure:

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2 How much do you think your trash weighs? Weigh the individual bags or dump the trash on a tarp, pull it together and weigh it as one pile. How much would a week s supply of garbage weigh? A year? Do the calculations to find the answers! Show transparency, What s in Our Garbage. How does our garbage compare to what all of Oregon throws away? You may fill in the data for Oregon on the picture of the garbage can. Have students identify the largest proportions of the trash by weight and by volume is there a difference? Reflection/Response: Have students answer questions at the bottom of the Garbage Audit. What would happened if there really was no place to throw our trash? What could you do to make less waste? Have students write an imaginative essay about a make-believe town that no longer could collect its citizen s trash. Students should include what caused the problem and how the people tried to solve it. Assign the worksheet If Bagging Trash is Your Game Data from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Waste Composition: Paper 24% Wood and Yard Debris 16% Food Waste 14% Metal and Glass 10% Plastics 10% Building Materials 10% Miscellaneous 9% Carpet and Clothing 6% Hazardous Waste 1% To find updated statistics visit the Solid Waste website: wmc/solwaste/rsw.htm or contact the Solid Waste Education staff at or Extensions: Show video: Time s A Wasting. Have students discuss what they saw in the video, especially the people making deliberate purchasing choices at the end of the video in order to create less garbage. Assign the Extension Lesson: Take Home Trash Audit or extend waste collection time and post results for a week or a month. Complete the weighing activity at the end of each day. Repeat this lesson after you complete several other lessons in this book. See if students are able to reduce the amount of waste generating by trying the suggestions they learn about reducing, reusing, and recycling. Oregon Benchmark Standards: Mathematics: Measurement; Statistics and Probability Read, construct, and interpret displays of data using appropriate techniques and technologies (e.g., charts, graphs, tables). Select the appropriate standard and nonstandard units and tools of measurement to measure to the degree of precision and accuracy desired in particular situations. Generate, compare, and analyze data to draw inferences and make predictions, using experimental and theoretical probability. Science: Scientific Inquiry Formulate and express scientific questions and hypotheses to be investigated. Grade 5 Benchmark: Formulate and carry out simple experiments and simulations. Collect and analyze data using measures of central tendency. Select the appropriate units and tools to measure length, perimeter, weight, area, volume, time, temperature, money and angle. Collect, organize, display, and analyze data, using number lines, bar graphs, line graphs, line graphs, circle graphs, stem and leaf plots, and histograms. Ask questions and make predictions that are based on observations and can be explored through simple investigations. Analyze data to determine possible questions for further investigation. 162

3 Overhead: What s In Our Garbage? Paper Wood & Yard Debris Food Building Materials Plastic Metal & Glass Miscellaneous Carpet & Clothing Hazardous Materials

4 Worksheet: Garbage Audit Name or Class or School Area of Audit (check one) Classroom Staff Room or Office Cafeteria Kitchen Other Instructions: Students should appreciate that individual garbage may be only a small amount. However, this garbage must be combined and total weights and volumes will be recorded so that you may calculate daily/weekly/monthly/yearly amounts for your class, your school or per person. Combine all individual bags into one large bag. If you are auditing a large area, weigh each container for the area. Total weight of garbage including container or person s body weight Subtract the weight of the empty container or person s weight Total weight of garbage lb. lb. lb. Total volume of the garbage (estimate based on the fullness of the bag or container) gal. Total weight of the garbage that is recyclable lb. Waste Composition--What s in the Can? (To do an in depth audit, you will need to classify materials into types under each category. For example, Paper: writing, brown bags, cardboard, etc.) Material Weight Number Volume Type Pounds %Total of Items Gallons %Total Paper Plastic #1 #2 Other Metal Aluminum Other Glass Bottle Bill (deposit) Other

5 Worksheet: If Bagging Trash Is Your Game If Bagging Trash is Your Game, This Match is for You. Match each word on the left with the phrase that best describes it. Trash A. To find a new use for something instead of throwing it away. Litter B. A recyclable material made from trees. C. To buy less and to throw away less trash. Natural Resources D. Leaves and grass clippings that are broken down by natural forces and can be used on gardens. Landfill E. Our garbage, all the things we throw away. Recycling F. Trash that is in the wrong place, such as on the ground or in the street. Aluminum & Tin G. Damage to the environment from chemicals or other human activities. Paper H. Metals that are made from minerals in the ground. Reduce I. A special place in the ground where trash is buried. Compost J. Things that are found in nature such as air, water, trees, minerals that we use to make energy and to help us make other things. Pollution K. A process that makes something new out of something old.

6

7 Extension: Take Home Trash Audit Grade: 4-5 Subject: Math Objectives: Students will: estimate the amount of waste they personally create calculate the amount of waste they can save from landfills and incinerators if they recycle at different rates Teaching Time: daily 10 minutes; wrap-up lesson 40 minutes at the end of the week Materials: worksheet, How Much Waste Do I Create? Reduce Reduce Reduce Background: Before students can begin to understand the need for waste reduction and recycling, it is necessary first to understand the magnitude of the waste problem. The impact of a home waste audit is one of the most personal for students it will allow students to calculate a per person average for garbage generation and recycling in their homes and is a very good math exercise. Before completing the handout in this lesson, let students know that if their families do not recycle to enter zero in the spaces provided. Explain that not everyone in the same community has the same access to recycling in some parts of Oregon and that other families may choose not to participate for one reason or another. (For example, in some areas, people may only have recycling at curbside if they own a home, but not if they live in apartments, or in other areas people may have to drive their recycling to a facility in order to recycle). Procedures: How much trash do you through away each day? Each person in the United States makes about four pounds of waste each day. This amounts to 3/4 of a ton per year. Do you think this is true for you? Tell students they will weigh waste at home for one week and complete the worksheet, How Much Waste Do I Create? and by the end, they will be able to estimate how much waste they create every day. Reflection/Response: When students are finished with their worksheets, have them bring them to class and compare the amount of waste created in different households. Note that you are creating a data set. All the numbers vary from family to family depending on what they were doing that particular day. Calculate (or ask students to calculate) the average amount of waste generated in one year for the entire class. Now calculate the amount created per person/day. Is this number the same or different from your individual calculation? What happens when we take a large data set and average the numbers together? Now create a data set for the class on the percentage of waste that they recycle (from question 10). Envision different scenarios and do the calculations for the students, (e.g., if a person is recycling 10%, how many more materials would they conserve if they recycled 20% or 35% or 50%). Use the class average for percentage recycled to create hypothetical improvements. 167

8 Oregon Benchmark Standards: Common Curriculum Goal: Mathematics: Measurement Describe, estimate, and use measures of length, perimeter, weight, time, temperature, money, and capacity. Mathematics: Calculations and Estimations Demonstrate conceptual meanings for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Grade 5 Benchmark: Measure length, perimeter, weight, area, volume, time, temperature, and angle using standard and nonstandard units of measurement. Perform calculations on whole numbers, fractions, and decimals using paper and pencil and calculators. 168

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