EE Activities - Solid Waste

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Links on this page are for activities and materials dealing with: waste production and disposal, recycling, composting and pollution prevention.

TerraCycle and the Eco-Capitalist    
Earn money by recycling. Terracycle buys plastic wraps, candy wrappers, and a whole slew of plastic containers from groups, schools, and fundraisers, to reuse for their business. They make everything they sell out of trash!

Check out their story >>

The Eco-Capitalist blog from Tom Szaky, the CEO of TerraCycle, who writes about driving up business profits by being environmentally and socially responsible. Read more >>
The URL is:

Steel Recycling Institute (SRI)    
SRI, a unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, is an industry association that promotes and sustains the recycling of all steel products. SRI offers publications, fact sheets, an interactive kids site (FREE registration required), and educational activities related to steel recycling.
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Cornell University's Composting in School    
Complete information about composting as a school project or classroom investigation. The information in this site is also contained in "Composting in the Classroom" and the video "It's Gotten Rotten," ordering information available.
The URL is:

A Recycling Revolution    
Recycling doesn't have to be just another household chore. We can use it as an opportunity to connect with our family, raise funds for our churches and schools, and educate our students.
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CURE Recycling    
Recycle ink cartridges and cell phones to benefit the environment and help pediatric cancer research. Excellent fundraiser for schools. Free recycling materials and shipping provided.
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Minnesota Department of Environmental Assistance      
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle program by the Minnesota Department of Environmental Assistance. Offers information on local recycling programs, including Recycling Old Electronics and Minnesotas Recycled Products Directory.

Educator training: Denise Stromme, MN Office of Envtl Assistance. How to Teach About Natural Resources - Dawn Flinn
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Ink Cartridge Recycling. Cash for used ink cartridges!    
Every year more than 1 billion Inkjet Cartridge are used; most are thrown away. Get cash for recycling. For instance, ink cartridge recycling is great for Fundraising or make some extra cash for you.
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Compost Guide    
A how-to guide on composting. Includes information on the process, materials to use, troubleshooting, and worm composting.
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Adopt a Library    
A website encouraging donations of used books and magazines to schools & libraries. has had over 200,000 visitors and many thousands of books have been donated to libraries and schools worldwide.
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Generation Earth Action Kits    
These action kits are step-by-step resources designed to help students, teachers and youth organizations begin hands-on environmental programs. Includes downloadable student campus waste stream audit and environmental action project workbooks. From the LA County Department of Public Works.

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Aluminum Beverage Cans: The ABC's of Environmental Education      
"Includes background information, in-class experiments and extracurricular activities intended to meet the environ. ed. material guidelines of the North American Association for Environmental Education and Project 2061's Benchmarks for Science Literacy" (intermed grade levels). Available online. Developed by the Can Manufacturers Institute. Grade Level: Intermediate NPEEE Review
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Blue Belly Farm    
Our mission at Blue Belly Farm is to help everyone become aware of the importance of using REDWORMS and their benefits, for sustaining a naturally healthy soil with prolific yields and converting organic garbage into a renewable resource.
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Waste Hierarchy: Where Is Away?      
Teaching unit uses the four levels of waste treatment to introduce the issue of solid waste, to make students aware of their own waste generation, and to give them practice in issue resolution. Grade Level: 6-9
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Sewage in Your Face    
The City of San Diego's Metropolitan Wastewater Department children's Web site is targeted for students Grade 4-8. Features a virtual sewage treatment tour, resources for additional research, and classroom activities and lesson plans for teachers.
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Fun Activities    
A really cool site that stresses the importance of recycling. It has fun games and activities for students.

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Ecology of the Dump    
Three activities concerning solid waste management. This is an activity created by the 1991 Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute.
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Waste Management in Indian Country    
Solid waste curricula (K-12 and Higher Ed) which "incorporate Native American cultural themes to help sensitize students to environmental issues and inspire greater participation in community pollution prevention activities." From EPA's Tribal Solid Waste Management Program (some resources are available for download in PDF format).
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4H Council - Environmental Stewardship Series      
Three curricula: "Biodegradable Polymers" (grade 10 and up),"Soils Alive From Tiny Rocks to Compost" (grade 5 and up), and "Mud, Muck and Other Wonderful Things" (K-3) have been reviewed by the National Project for Excellence in EE . Can be ordered from the 4H Council.
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Worms Eat My Garbage      
Information about vermicomposting and how it can be done in the classroom, educational books and videos, and more. Developed by Mary Appelhof, Worm Woman.
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Recycling Lesson Plans    
This site contains 8 lesson plans on recycling with objectives, resources, and procedures. Waste Where does it come from? Where does it go? Litter Detectives; Used Motor Oil Recycling; Disposal and Recycling Costs; Composting Project.
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NYC WasteLe$$ Individual Home Page    
The NYC WasteLe$$ individual section provides practical ideas for how to prevent waste at home, work, and school, and when shopping. The school page contains many resources for students and teachers to further explore the three R's of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
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Wyoming Recycling Works    
Helped by Middle School students, our small city created web-based game, fun facts, and video to explain why we recycle so many different materials - we lead our region in materials and weight of recycling, and this interactive site encourages young people to stimulate family recycling activities.
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Recycle City!(EPA)    
Exploring Recycle City is an easy way to learn about the three R's -- reduce, reuse and recycle. Designed primarily for middle-school students, it's a lively point-and-click journey for all ages that demonstrates how individuals, businesses, and communities can work together to cut waste.
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The Scrap Map    
From the Institute of Scrap Recycling, "The Scrap Map is an environmental teaching aid for Grades K-6. It explains and illustrates recycling by following autos, aluminum beverage cans, and newspapers through the recycling process." Downloadable.
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Rotten Truth About Garbage    
This on-line exhibition takes an in-depth look at the complex issues surrounding municipal solid waste. It is organized into four major sections: What Is Garbage?, There's No "Away", Nature Recycles, and Making Choices. Includes activities for at home or school, a guest expert to answer garbage-related questions, and an extensive resource list to find out more.
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S.C.R.A.P. Gallery    
The S.C.R.A.P. Gallery (Student Creative Recycle Art Program) is an innovative program that addresses two of today's most urgent issues -- the environment and the education of our youth. S.C.R.A.P. provides a link between industry, education, the arts and environment by recycling and reusing discards destined for the landfill, transforming them into art.
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Keep America Beautiful - Materials for Teachers      
Two curricula: Waste In Place (grades K-6)and Waste: A Hidden Resource (grades 9-12)build critical thinking, processing, and problem solving skills through imaginative, hands-on lessons. Lessons can be taught individually or in sequence.
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The Adventures of Vermi the Worm    
"The Adventures of Vermi the Worm is an animated, interactive game that teaches the basics of vermicomposting and its benefits, plus other waste management strategies like the 3Rs--reduce, reuse and recycle!"
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EarthCARE Canada    
EarthCARE is an activity-based, curriculum-aligned program designed to develop students and staff as environmental stewards. Includes lesson plans, activities for students, discussion forum, news items,and a reduce-reuse-recycle Q&A section.
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Hooked on Recycling Bottle Cap Project    
Norm Price from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, started this recycling campaign where students from all over North America collect soda and beer metal caps from parks, rivers, streams, lakes, and nature trails. The caps are then passed on to the Original Bottle Cap Lure Company who hires students to make into fishing lures. These lures were featured in the April Issue of Field & Stream Fishing Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal and are also used by Canadian Sport Fishing Champion Andy Vander Ploeg who won 3 years in a row with the Bottle Cap Lure.
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Lesson Plans - Environmental Issues Forum Workshop      
Submitted by teachers at a workshop emphasizing urban EE, downloadable lesson plans on air and water quality, solid waste, and land use planning. From the Chicago Academy of Sciences.
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EPA Explorer's Club      
The EPA Explorer's Club is designed like a clubhouse with various rooms. Filled with educational activities in the art room, game room, science room, and pages where kids learn about air, water, garbage & recycling, plants, and animals.
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