I Can Save the Earth Activity
I Can Save the Earth

The Recycling Patrol

Have you ever wondered how much your class throws away in a month or a year? Do you think that anything you and your classmates throw away can be recycled?

Recycling, or finding ways to reuse things, is an important process. It helps save Earth's precious resources. You can conduct an experiment that will help you see what happens to the class trash and then find ways to recycle some of it. Here's what to do.

1. Visit the Garbage Web site at http://www.learner.org/exhibits/garbage/intro.html and the Environmental Protection Agency's Recycle City Web site at http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/ to find out about the different types of trash made in your home and community, which types of trash can be recycled, and how they are recycled.

2. Track the type and amount of trash your class throws away. Each day for a week, patrol the class wastebasket at three different times. Check the wastebasket at lunch, after recess, and at the end of the day.

3. Review the trash. Put on your safety gloves and look for items such as papers and newspapers, glass bottles, cans, and plastic containers that can be recycled. Use the chart below to record the type and amount of trash your class throws away.

Recycling Patrol Results Chart
Type of Trash: Paper Plastic Metal or
Aluminum
Glass Food Other Trash
Recess Patrol

After Recess Patrol

End of the Day Patrol

Daily Total of
Items Found

4. Record how many pieces of each type of trash you find. At the end of the week add up the trash totals. Then estimate totals for the entire month by multiplying each of the weekly trash totals by 4 (the number of weeks in each month).

5. Now estimate how much trash is created during the school year. Multiply each monthly total by the number of months in your school year. Are you surprised by the totals? What do you think happens to this trash? Discuss these questions with your classmates.

6. Work with your classmates to set up a recycling center. Keep track of how many items you can recycle in your class in one day, one week, one month, and one year.

Remember to recycle this sheet!

Home Connection

What can you do with recycled items? Visit the America Recycles Day Web site at http://www.americarecyclesday.org/homepage.html to explore the “American Green Dream House,” the house that was built from recycled materials.

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