GO IN DEPTH

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Science How much do you know about where your garbage goes? The August 10, 2012 issue of Science magazine, published by AAAS, focuses on this very question. From industrial waste to carbon dioxide emissions to water usage, many countries are creating waste at unsustainable levels, and solutions are needed.

Begin learning about the world's waste output with this infographic from Science magazine that breaks statistics down by country and waste type. Did you know that the average American throws away 4.6 pounds of waste each day? And did you know that American households throw away fifty billion dollars' worth of food every year?

Garbage that's thrown into the ocean can have big consequences. David Barnes, a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, has found that plastic garbage floats and doesn't break down easily. This means that marine organisms can attach themselves to it and hitch a ride to wherever the garbage floats. These invasive species can be very harmful to their new environments.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce the amount of garbage by recycling it. Introduce students to the concept of recycled materials with this lesson, and with this lesson teach how engineers can design systems for dealing with waste. Finally, teach students real ways they can be green with this lesson based on the award-winning children's environmental science book, True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet by Kim McCay and Jenny Bonnin.

Connecting global environmental problems with STEM, like the resources above do, is a great way to get students interested in both real-world issues and learning about the sciences. Be sure to look for new collections and resources here on Science NetLinks related to these topics in the coming weeks!

Image credit: Science

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