What trash was thrown away the most?

Grade level: 4th – 6th grades

Skills:DECIMALS  (Comparison)

Related environmental issues: Recycle


Almost every activities we do in our lives leaves behind some type of trash. The United States threw away 4.51 pounds of trash per person every day in 2017. The table below shows how much each trash was thrown away per person a day in 2017.


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Write <, >, or = in each square to compare a true statement about the two decimal numbers.

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Source: U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, 2019. Advancing sustainable materials management: 2017 fact sheet. 


Answer keys

1. >
2. <
3. <
4. >


Factful Environmental Math Problems (2020)

Just published and now available from Amazon  (paperback)

About this book

The objective of Factful Environmental Math Problems is to cultivate our young people’s skills to analyze and evaluate fact-based data for understanding our world, while improving their math skills and critical thinking skills.

With the rise of the Internet and new technology, building skills to analyze and evaluate fact-based data becomes increasingly important for our young people to prepare for this rapidly changing world. These skills minimize their chances of being brainwashed by false information and making uninformed decisions and ultimately help develop their critical thinking skills. (Read more)

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Published: March 26, 2020

Price: $6.25

China banned plastic bags. How much plastic waste do we generate?

Grade level: 4th – 5th grades

Skills: Circle graph

Related environmental issues: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle


China announced that they will ban the use of plastic bags and plastic straws in all of China’s major cities by the end of this year. According to the United Nations, single-use plastics are one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.

The circle graph below shows components of our waste in the United States in 2017.

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  1. What kind of trash do we generate the most?
  2. Which trash do we generate more, plastics or glass?
  3. What trash do we generate as much as plastics?


Source: U.S EPA, 2019. Advanced Sustainable Materials Management: 2017 Fact Sheet

Note: The figure is created by weight.

Answer keys

  1. Paper
  2. plastics
  3. yard trimmings