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Plastic Bag

Where Does It All End Up?

Secondary

Description

The commonly asked question “Paper or plastic?” is simply a reflection of how common the use of plastic
bags has become. In the United States alone, over a billion plastic bags are given away to customers every
day. Less than 3% of those bags are ever recycled. The rest are destined for the landfill, although many
of them never make it there. The bags are so light that they often become airborne and can drift until they
become stuck on something or bogged down in water. Those that do make it to the landfill will take as much
as a thousand years to degrade.

The commonly asked question “Paper or plastic?” is simply a reflection of how common the use of plastic bags has become. In the United States alone, over a billion plastic bags are given away to customers everyday. Less than 3% of those bags are ever recycled. The rest are destined for the landfill, although many of them never make it there. The bags are so light that they often become airborne and can drift until they become stuck on something or bogged down in water. Those that do make it to the landfill will take as much as a thousand years to degrade.

In this video, a discarded plastic bag, struggling with its immortality, ventures through the environmentally barren remains of America as it searches for its maker.

An accompanying lesson plan focuses student attention on the the issues of waste management and resource use within their own communities.

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The video and the accompanying lesson plans are useful resources for student study of issues related to waste management, resource use, human - environmental interaction (Environmental Science, Geography and Social Studies) in particular and to those units dealing with science, technology and society in general.

The accompany lesson plan has students

  • compare and contrast the benefits and problems associated with the use of paper and plastic bags
  • calculate theoretical plastic bag use in their community
  • identify procedures in place to reduce plastic bag use
  • create and post their predictions about the future effects of plastic bag usage

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Consumerism
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Environment
        • Global Issues
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Advanced Environmental Science 120:Introduction to the human sphere
        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: Introduction to Environmental Science
        • Environmental Science 3205: Water Use & the Environment
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 20, Marine Systems: Ocean Ecology
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Spaceship Earth
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 20, Marine Systems: Ocean Ecology
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Reducing and Managing Waste
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studiees 20:World Issues - Environment

Themes Addressed

  • Waste Management (4)

    • Cradle-to-Cradle
    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments