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7.2: Using Recycling in Human Communities – Student Edition (Human Biology)

Created by: CK-12

Begin by discussing the main question posed at the beginning of the section, “How can humans cycle their resources?” Use this question to review the concept of cycling in natural communities and how humans can rejoin the cycle of resources in our own community.

Ask students what they know about recycling programs in their community and school. Discuss any recycling habits students may have at home.

Discuss the “3-R's”-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle-and what they mean to students on a daily basis.

Assign the Mini Activity: Draw a Paper Cycle to compare the consequences of recycling paper versus using it once and throwing it in a landfill.

Assign Activity 6-1: What's in Your Garbage and Where Does It Go? as a fun way to analyze students' own garbage with the ultimate goal of changing wasteful behaviors.

Assign the Mini Activity: Overpackaging to follow through with students' analysis of their garbage and how waste can be reduced.

What Do You Think?

What sources of energy are used in the process of throwing away a piece of paper? Do you think that the energy sources are being used wisely? Explain your answer.

Draw a Paper Cycle Students learn about the cycling of an item (paper) that they use every day.

Implement Your students might draw a paper cycle such as the following:

  • A pine tree grows in the forest.
  • Loggers cut down the tree.
  • The tree is transported to a paper mill.
  • The tree is broken down to produce paper.
  • The paper is packaged.
  • The packaged paper is transported to a distribution center.
  • The packaged paper is purchased by a store.
  • The student purchases the packaged paper from a local store.
  • The student uses the paper.
  • The paper is thrown in the trash.
  • The trash is thrown in a dumpster.
  • The dumpster is emptied into a garbage truck.
  • The garbage truck transports the paper and other trash to a transfer station.
  • The paper and other trash is transported by a larger garbage truck to the landfill site.
  • The paper and other trash is thrown in the landfill.
  • The landfill is covered with soil and the paper remains in the landfill.

Notice that those steps listed above do not represent a true cycle. The paper in the landfill can never get back to providing nutrients for the growth of a new tree. However, if the student recycles the paper, then the paper is not thrown in the trash and doesn't end up at the landfill. The paper to be recycled follows the following steps.

  • The paper is collected by a recycling company.
  • The paper is sorted and sent to a recycling paper mill.
  • The original paper is converted into a piece of recycled paper.
  • The recycled paper is packaged.
  • The packaged paper is transported to a distribution center.
  • The packaged paper is purchased by a store.
  • The student purchases the packaged paper from a local store.
  • The student uses the paper.
  • The student recycles the paper.

A suggested response will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org.

What do you think happens to paper bags in a landfill?

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Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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