Finding the Science in Recycling

Few topics are easier to relate to a student’s everyday life than recycling. Many of the materials that are recyclable are used in the home and the classroom. These materials and the recycling process can be used to illustrate concepts in science. The resources here employ research techniques, games, and projects.

Recycle City
A citywide view of recycling is presented in this site designed for classroom use by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to learning about recycling possibilities in homes, public places, and businesses, students play the role of city manager and help residents learn to recycle, reduce, and reuse waste. Extension ideas are included.

Talking Trash
Writers for the online Why Files interview people in the field about the cost-effectiveness of recycling, covering such topics as the market for recycled paper, new techniques, and the safety of recycled industrial waste.

Visiting a Recycling Plant
In video segments from ZOOM, a PBS show, a young person learns how paper is recycled. The background essay gives an overview of recycling and discussion questions.

Everyday is Earth Day: Realistic Ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Step-by-step instructions for a research project on waste disposal are found here. Teams explore the pros and cons of the various methods of reducing, reusing, and recycling products their families use. They also create an ad campaign to convince others to recycle.

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updated 12/07/2011.