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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

What's in Our Trash?

Lesson Description:
Students begin the lesson by examining items to determine what they are made of—glass, paper, plastic, or metal. Next, students collect data to determine what types of trash they produce at lunch time. After making a class graph of this information, students discuss what happens when trash is thrown away and discover four strategies for using resources wisely (reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover). After learning more about recycling by exploring the ThinkGreen website, students display their new learning on a mini poster. Finally, the lesson is extended to the home, where students analyze the trash they produce and brainstorm strategies for reducing the waste.

Students will collect and record data of the trash they generate.
Students will describe strategies for using resources wisely (reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover).
Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Waste Reduction

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge

Time Needed:
1-2 Classes
School or Group:
Waste Management
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Whats in our trash.pdf
Located in: Science | Science

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Center for Green Schools