In this episode, two Earthlings from the future are doing some fossil research when they start finding some oddly familiar objects. They are’t really fossils, just things that did not decompose because they needed to be recycled. Since they were left in a landfill, they just sat there for centuries until one day, two inquisitive characters found them.
The first ‘fossil’ discovered is a cottage cheese container. Like many other refrigerated food-cups, these are usually made of a couple different types of plastic, many of which can be recycled. Since plastic is a heavily-processed, petroleum-based material, it does not easily break down. If you do not recycle your plastic, it can sit in landfills for a couple hundred years!
Later on, the anthropologists discover an ancient piece of technology, a smartphone. How could a phone from today survive all those years? It’s actually pretty simple: smartphones are made of metals and plastics, both of which can take centuries to break down. The last owner of this phone must have decided to get a different model but instead of sending the phone to an e-waste recycling center so the metals and plastics could be reused, they put it in the trash so the phone ended up sitting in a landfill.
The final analysis was done on a fluorescent light. These light-tubes are highly hazardous to the environment and humans because they contain mercury vapor. While these lights are in use, it is not very dangerous but when it burns out, it is extremely important that it is handled and disposed of correctly. Any rough handling can crack the glass. Any cracks in the glass can cause the release of mercury vapor into the air. Also, the tube itself is made of glass and metal. Both glass and metal do not easily biodegrade (or break down) so they should be recycled and reused!
As scary as it may seem, our future may not be as dangerous as this video as long as we take some steps to take care of the Earth. One of those steps is recycling. What happened to the planet in this episode is an extreme case of what is called climate change. It is very hazardous to life on the planet but at the same time it is preventable. It seems that one of the problems was that those people did not know how to recycle, it is always important to know what you are doing when it comes to saving the planet! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help you figure out your plastics if you ever get confused. The EPA can also help with e-waste, they explain how to figure out where to send it. Always remember: climate change affects the future that we will live in and the world our children will grow in, so take care and recycle all you can!
Director: David Chai
Editor: Keith Silva
Producer: Revathi Kotni
Camera Crew: Eric Anderson & Mark Sho
Host: Alejandro Garcia
Cast: Alison Bridger & Grace Lacuesta