About half of the paper we use in our daily lives has been recycled. The process begins when paper is picked up from a recycling bin and taken to a sorting facility, where items are separated and baled. The materials are then taken away to a facility where they are cleaned, possibly de-inked, shredded, and blended with other similar material, such as paper board, office paper, or newspaper. The batched material is then converted into a new end product. In this video segment from ZOOM, a cast member visits a material recovery center to watch this process unfold.
Many of Earth's natural resources, including fossil fuels and minerals, are nonrenewable and cannot readily be replaced. Fossil fuels, for example, form over periods of millions of years -- much more slowly than the rate at which humans consume them. Other resources, such as forests, are considered renewable resources; provided they are managed properly and not over-harvested, new forests can grow in a relatively short amount of time.
Recycling is perhaps the most well-known and successful part of the popular three-pronged resource conservation strategy known as the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. During recycling, materials that would otherwise become waste are made into useful new objects, thus lessening the demand for nonrenewable resources. For example, recycled plastic soda bottles can be made into warm, comfortable fleece jackets, and crushed glass and ground-up tires can replace some of the gravel and sand used for surfacing roads. In nearly all cases, producing goods from recycled materials requires significantly less energy than creating new goods from scratch.
Unlike glass bottles and aluminum cans, which can be recycled over and over again, paper can be recycled only a limited number of times. Each time it is recycled, more and more of the fibers are broken down, which degrades the quality of the paper. Examples of lower-grade recycled paper products are toilet paper, paper towels, and newspaper.
In the U.S., community recycling programs, which include curbside pickup, drop-off centers, and bottle and can redemption machines, divert tens of millions of tons of solid waste each year from landfills and incinerators. Still, there is ample room for improvement: less than one third of the solid waste generated by individuals, businesses, and government agencies is recycled. By choosing to buy recycled products, however, people create an economic incentive for recyclable materials to continue to be collected, manufactured, and marketed as new products. Thus, buying recycled products has both economic and environmental benefits.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.