We’ve all been told that we should recycle plastic bottles, but what actually happens to the plastic if we just throw it away?
Students will watch about a video about three plastic bottles from when they were manufactured to ending at a landfill, ocean or being recycled into a new product. In groups, they will summarize one bottle's journey and discuss with the class about the video's message.
Plastic is made from oil and gas (natural resources that are extracted from the ground). Many plastics that are used to make every day products can be recycled, such as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) which is used to create water, juice and pop bottles. This type of plastic can be recycled and used to make new products.
The use of plastic products can harm wildlife and enter the food chain. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and others contain large amounts of garbage and plastic that aren’t biodegradable. Smaller marine animals contain pieces of plastic that have broken down into tiny pieces because they mistake it for food.
When fish eat plastic, it enters the food chain because larger fish eat the smaller fish (containing plastic) and we humans eat the larger fish, like tuna.
Recycling is an important way to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill sites and the ocean. Reducing our use of plastic and switching to reusable products such as refillable water bottles also reduces the amount of plastic in the environment.
Learn more about the environmental impacts of plastic and craft a bird feeder out of used plastic containers.
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Explore a range of options and generate new ideas for practical and powerful actions.
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