Grade level: 3rd – 5th grades
Related environmental issues: Reduce / Reuse / Recycle
The average weight of plastic beverage bottles has changed over time. In 1980, five empty 2-liter PET bottles weighed 340 grams. Now, nine 3-liter PET bottles weigh 378 grams.
- Which weighs more, a plastic bottle in 1980 or now? And how much?
- Why do you think has the weight of plastic bottles changed? Explain.
Sources: PET Resin Association, Little-Known Facts about PET Plastic
- 1980 bottle: 340 ÷ 5 = 68 (g) Now: 378 ÷ 9 = 42 (g) 68 – 42 = 22 (g) A plastic bottle now is 22 g lighter than that in 1980.
- Answers may vary: Hint 1) Lightweight plastic bottles reduce the use of plastic and raw materials 2) Lightweight plastic bottles reduce overall weight of the item and reduce energy consumed and CO2 emitted in the process of manufacturing and transporting the item. 3) Lightweight plastic bottles reduce plastic (and raw materials) use, so does the amount of plastic that has to be recycled.