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.

Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 12.10.46 PM

 

  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

How much recycled newspaper will save a tree?

Grade level: 4th – 5th grades

Skills: Fraction (multiplication/division)

Related environmental issues: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

 

PDF version

 

Recycling paper prevents many trees from being cut down for paper. It is estimated that we can save one tree by recycling a stack of newspaper 3 feet high.

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 1.34.25 PM

  1. Sean recycled a stack of newspaper 23 feet high.  How many trees did Sean save by recycling the newspaper? Answers must be fractions in mixed numbers.
  2. To save 13 1/6  trees, a stack of how many feet of newspaper Does Sean need to recycle?  Convertfractions into mixed numbers.
  3. Maya wants to save 18 2/3trees. She gathered newspaper to recycle and made a stack of newspaper 55 feet high.  Did she gather enough newspaper? Explain.

 

PDF version

 

Source: Recycle Across America, Recycling facts


Answer keys

Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 1.44.14 PM