We’ve all been told that we should recycle plastic bottles, but what actually happens to the plastic if we just throw it away?
This is the story of three plastic bottles, starting from when they were manufactured using oil and gas and ending with one bottle in a landfill, one in the ocean, and one recycled into a brand new product.
Students watch the video and take notes on the different life cycles of each plastic bottle.
After working in groups to summarize one bottle’s journey, the activity ends with students thinking about the video’s message and sharing their ideas as a class.
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.
Explore a range of options and generate new ideas for practical and powerful actions.
Using criteria to decide which scientific claims are the most believable.
Use criteria to develop reasonable hypotheses about actions we can take to address climate change.
We want to ensure that we’re providing activities your class will enjoy. Please let us know what you think about this activity by leaving us your feedback.