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MAIN TOPIC OF VIDEO:  How materials can be reused and recycled into new products

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Discussion Questions


  1. What materials can you recycle?
  2. Which ones do you recycle?
  3. Pick an item in your house/home/backpack. Where did it come from? What materials/natural resources is it made of?


1.    Who are the main individuals in the video? Who is involved with recycling? Who are the stakeholders? What is at stake?

2.    What is the purpose of magnetizing the metals?

3.    What is a bale? How much does it weigh?

4.    What does a tin can become?


1.    What are the steps of items being recycled? When in the video does it show that?

2.    How else can metal be reused?

3.    What did Ricardo Lopez mean when he said “There’s plenty of life left for you in the future”?

4.    Besides cans, how might other materials be reused?



1.    Paper, plastics, metals, computer parts, clothes, compost, food

2.    Student responses may vary – consider what you recycle at your school site, such as paper, aluminum cans, and drink containers. A follow-up question might discuss how to change personal actions or what to do to to get more things recycled at your site or at home

3.    Student responses may vary, but the goal is to get students to think about the life cycle of everyday products. For example, a pencil is made of wood, graphite, lead, rubber for the eraser, plastic for the label. Students may not have considered the source of food – hamburgers come from cows, lettuce, wheat, eggs from chicken. The same could be said of technology components, such as cell phones, which contain rare elements, metals from the ground, alloys, conductors, and various plastics.



Ricardo Lopez of MRF Operations Mangers

has a job with the company and works to ensure that materials get recycled


people who need to get rid of waste, people who want to recycle materials

Tin can and raw materials

Want to recycled and continue to have purpose

Local homeowners and business owners

May not want to live near processing plant

Local economy

Stimulated by having jobs and materials to process and export

End user

Purchases and uses recycled materials, can label products as recycled

2. Materials are magnetized in order to separate and sort metals from plastics and paper

3. A bail is a large grouping of the same material, such as tin metal. They weigh approximately 1,500 – 2,200 pounds of metal and are used by end product users as a raw material.

4. A tin can become a variety of lower quality metallic materials and sheet metals, such as rebar and fencing.


1.    Sorted -> Stored -> When enough is stored,  it is shipped -> Processed into a new material by end user -> Sold to consumers

2.    Metal can be reused into the same material that it came from. Metals can also be used to make pans, wiring, and pipes

3.    His saying was intending that he would not end up in the trash, but could continue to have life by being reused and recycled multiple times and that his plant could be essential in making sure that metals could be reused.

4.    Paper could be reused to become recycled paper and be reused for writing, napkins, or brown paper bags for storage and transport.  Plastics can become plastic pellets, which can be used for injection molding, 3-D molding, synthetic playing field surfaces, sunglass frames, plastic bowls, clothing, and much more.


Research local materials recovery facilities, like Green Waste- Click here

Informational Youtube Video from Recology San Francisco-Click here

Follow up video touring a plant on single stream recycling in Philadelphia- Click here

conveyerCreate your own tin can friend or recyclable friend and take him/her with you. Create a storyboard or storybook of how s/he was created and her life- click here

Just like the conveyor belts in the Green Ninja film, students might relate to reusable items like in Toy Story 3 when the toys are doomed or when the toys are reused from Andy to a younger friend to play with.toystory

Consider where materials go if they do not get “reincanated”

Collection of infographics on waste usage

Food waste: From the farm to fork to landfill (CNN)-Click here

Recycling by the Numbers (NewEcologist.Com)-Click here

The Recycling Chronicles (Huffington Post)- Click here

 Great Pacific Garbage Path (US NOAA)- Click here

Where does our trash go? (Intended for elementary students)-Click here


Common Recyclable Materials (EPA)- Click here

 The Truth About Recycling, June 7th, 2007 (The Economist)-Click here

 The Afterlife of Cells. Jan 13, 2008 by Jon Mooallem (The New YorkTimes)- Click here

Credit: This teacher resource has been adapted from content originally developed by Janet Lee.


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