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Challenges and Misconceptions of Recycling

Sarah Borzo, Education and Outreach Coordinator for Metro Waste Authority, discusses misconceptions about recycling and diverting items from the landfill.

Metro Waste Authority Environmental Learning Center, Runnells, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • How are juice boxes made into drywall?
  • What other materials can be recycled or repurposed? (Example: plastic bottles for 3D printing)
  • Can plexiglass be recycled? Is there a way to repurpose plexiglass?

Classroom Suggestions

  • Create a documentary, podcast, etc., on recycling.
  • Develop a plan to recycle or repurpose plexiglass (may involve developing partnerships with local businesses).
  • Create a presentation that persuades a leader (school board, principal, city, county, etc.) to improve recycling.
  • Develop a plan that allows your school to upcycle materials and resources.
  • Watch the movie WALL-E.

Related Resources

Iowa Core Alignment

Earth and Space Science
High School (9-12)
Disciplinary Core Idea
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity

Credit Info

Submitted by Karla St. John and Amber Fairbanks as part of their Iowa STEM Teacher Externship experience at Iowa PBS.

Location and information courtesy of Metro Waste Authority.

Media produced by Iowa PBS.


Have you used this resource in your classroom? Do you have ideas for improvement? Share your ideas, experiences and feedback about this phenomena.

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