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Plastic never disappears..Every piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists today...

Debunking the Recycling Myth

Items we use every day originate from natural resources. Everything we use was once a natural resource, trees are harvested from wood to make paper, water bottles are made from petroleum or fossil fuels, the food we eat comes from plants, and metal cans are made from minerals. Many of these natural resources, such as trees, water used during the manufacturing process, or the land here oil and minerals are mined, provide habitat for wildlife. The process of extract- ing natural resources, manufacturing and transporting products, and landfilling waste can reduce or impact habitat for wildlife.For Litter often remains in the environment for many years. During the process of making products, releasing pollutants into the environment. In order to manage the disposal of waste materials, landfills have been developed in areas that once provided homes to plants and animals.

To protect wildlife and natural spaces, we can take steps to reduce our impact on the environment. The practice of reducing waste helps to conserve natural resources by keeping items out of landfills. Many items that become litter when discarded could have been reduced, reused, recycled or composted.By using less stuff, we conserve natural resources. By participating in community clean-up days, providing habitat for wildlife at home or school, reusing when possible, and purchasing products with minimal or recycled packaging, we can do our part to protect wildlife and natural areas.

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Protect wildlife and natural spaces

The practice of reducing waste helps to conserve natural resources by keeping items out of landfills. Many items that become litter when discarded could have been reduced, reused, recycled or composted.

● Much of the trash polluting the Bay is plastic, which persists in the environment for hundreds of years. Ninety percent of trash in

our waterways does not biodegrade. (SaveSfbay.org)

● Tiny particles of plastic 5 millimeters in diameter or smaller are called microplastics. A study by the San Francisco Estuary

Institute showed that on average, Bay Area wastewater treatment plants released an estimated 7,000,000 particles per day to San

Francisco Bay, as their screens are not small enough to catch them. Microplastics absorb pollution and threaten wildlife that

ingest them.(SaveSfbay.org)

● In the North Pacific Ocean, there are 6x more plastic debris than plankton. They are causing deaths to our marine animals who

mistake them for food. (theworldcounts.com)

● 10% of the plastic we use yearly end up in the ocean. That’s equivalent to 700 billion plastic bottles! (theworldcounts.com)

● 90% of the trash floating in our oceans is made of plastic, around 46,000 pieces per square mile.(theworldcounts.com)

● The amount of plastic film and wrap produced annually could shrink-wrap the state of Texas.

● The energy it takes to make 1.5 million tons of plastic could power 250,000 homes

● -Single-use food and beverage packaging comprises most of the 80% of marine plastic pollution entering through the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean

● -Only 1 in 5 plastic bottles are recycled

● -Plastic bottles require up to 700 years to dissolve. (plastic never goes away just gets smaller and smaller)

● -24,000,000 liters of oil is needed to produce these billions of plastic bottles

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KEY VOCABULARY

Conserve: to protect something from harm or destruction.

Reduce: use less “stuff” and produce less waste.

Waste prevention: not making so much waste in the first place.

Value: the quality of an object that makes it desired or wanted; the beliefs of a person or social group; the fundamental beliefs or guiding principles that guide behavior and decision making.

Ecosystem: the interacting system of a biological community and its nonliving environment; also, the place where interactions occur.

Organic: materials that were once living or material produced by a living organism such as food, leaves, plant trimmings, hair, cloth-ing fibers, paper, etc. Organic may also be used to describe food

Inorganic: any material that is not composed of matter that was once living or produced by a living organism.

Recycle: the process of producing new products from used material or the process of remanufacturing used materials into new products. Some used materials can be made into new items of the same thing. Others are made into entirely new items.

Recyclable: discarded materials, such as paper, aluminum, tin, plas-tic, cardboard and glass, that in most cases can be recycled and remanufactured into new products.

Garbage: things that people throw away.

Compost: the process or end result of living organisms digest- ing and reducing organic material into a dark, rich, soil amendment.

Decomposition: the process of materials being digested and broken down into simpler sub- stances, making nutrients more available to plants. Decomposition happens all the time in nature and in human-managed systems such as compost bins.

Food scraps: food that can be put into a compost bin, typically fruit and vegetable scraps. Meat, dairy and oils are excluded because they can attract pests.

Landfill: an area of land designed to handle the disposal of solid waste. The garbage is usually spread out, compacted and covered with dirt or other material in order to protect the environment in and around the landfill.

Packaging: a container or wrap- ping such as paper, plastic, metals, etc., used to protect, transport, display or store a product.

Paper: a thin material made of pulp from wood, rags or other fibrous material often used for writing, printing or packaging.

Plastic: a material made from pet- roleum. It can be molded, extruded, or cast into a desired shape.

Guiding Ideas:

Have students consider the life cycle of their favorite things: books (coming from trees), soccerball (coming from plastic, rubber, animals), cell phone (glass, metal, batteries), bike, toys, etc... where do these items come from and where do they end up? Landfill, donated, or recycled? What would this life cycle look like? Can you show it through art? What did the ecosystem of fish look like 50 years ago? What does it look like now?

How to get your classroom involved?

Leading Idea:

-Single-use food and beverage packaging comprises most of the 80% of marine plastic pollution entering through the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean

-Only 1 in 5 plastic bottles are recycled

-Plastic bottles require up to 700 years to dissolve. (plastic never goes away just gets smaller and smaller)

-24,000,000 liters of oil is needed to produce these billions of plastic bottles

Project:

Have students collect plastic water bottles from their homes, schools, parks and bring them to class. Students twist the water bottle at the bottom half to make fish shape,shapes will vary.Students then paint fish design on single use water bottles. Leave out to dry. Tips to reduce waste:leave bottom of water bottle intact, have students paint on eyes. To use the reuse the entire water bottle for art purposes: Remove water bottle caps for part 2.

Supplies needed:

-Water Bottles (1 for each student, lid not necessary)

-Paint

Ending talking points:

What happens to water bottles after we use them?

How can we prevent plastic ocean pollution?

What can we use instead of single use plastic bottles?

How can you be an ocean advocate?

Optional Part 2:

Leading Idea:

-It is estimated that by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.

Supplies needed:

-Paint (optional)

-Plastic water bottle caps, coffee cup lids, or any form of plastic lid

-Cardboard for canvas

-Glue

Project:

Collect plastic lids in varying forms. Paint lids based on desired

color,then use lids to make a class mural of your choice.

If plastic lids are needed: Visit a Surfrider Beach Clean Up

Useful Resources:

https://thinkearth.org/curriculum (Environmental Education

Materials,PreK- 3)

https://www.muminthemadhouse.com/pl-bottle-wind-spiral-mobile/

(Additional project ideas)