How many plastic bottles are recycled?

reusing-plastic-bottleGrade level: 3rd – 5th grades

Skills: Percentage

Related environmental issues: Reduce, reuse & recycle

Area level: National

On overage, 31% of plastic bottles sold in the United States were recycled in 2013.

  1. Suppose your local supermarket recycled as many plastic bottles as US average. If the supermarket sold 100 plastic bottles, how many plastic bottles were recycled and how many plastic bottles were not recycled and end up in landfills?
  2. In the same year, 74% of plastic bottles sold in California were recycled. If one supermarket in California sold 100 plastic bottles, how many plastic bottles were recycled and how many plastic bottles were not recycled and end up in landfills?
  3. How many more plastic bottles were recycled in a supermarket in California than a supermarket in #1?

Source: US EPA and California EPA

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Answer keys

  1. 31 bottles recycled and 69 bottles not recycled (100-31=69)
  2. 74 bottles recycled and 26 bottled not recycled (100-74=26)
  3. 43 bottles (74-31=43)