How much food is wasted?

rade level: 4th – 5th grades

Skills: Multiplication

Related environmental issues:  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Have you ever thrown away food after you felt full and stopped eating? In the United States, 30% of edible food is spoiled and thrown away.  That is as big as each person throwing away $494 every year.

  1. You have 4 people in your family. How much can your family save in a year if food is not wasted at all?
  2. What can you do to prevent food waste?



Sources: U.S. EPA (2016). Sustainable Materials Management Program Strategic Plan. page 6.

Note) The food waste (and loss) is equivalent to $161 billion annually.


Answer keys

  1. $1,9764  (94 x 4 = 1,976)
  2. Answer may vary:Don’t over-serve food, Save and eat leftovers,Vacuum-pack unprepared or pre-cooked ingredients, Store food properly, Keep a record of your waste, Plan your meal before shopping


What are soda bottles made into when recycled?

Grade level: 4 – 5th grade

Skills: Circle graph

Related environmental issues: Recycling

Water and soda plastic bottles use Plastic #1 or PET (polyethylene terephthalate). As a raw material, PET is recognized as a flexible material that is 100% recyclable. When the Plastic #1 containers are recycled, they can be made into lots of things: fiber to make clothes and carpeting, sheet and film to make egg and meat containers, strapping, and more bottles.

The circle graph below shows products made from recycled plastic #1.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 1.17.30 PM

  1. Among fiber, sheet & film, strapping, food & beverage bottles, and non-food bottles, which group makes up the largest portion?
  2. Which group makes up one-fourth of the whole group?
  3. What group makes up more than non-food bottles but less than sheet & film?


Answer Key

  1. fiber
  2. food & beverage bottles
  3. strapping

Source) NAPCOR (National Association for PET Container Resources), 2016. Post-consumer PET container recycling activity report, 2016