Source: LOOP SCOOPS
Major funding for LOOP SCOOPS is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Although the information in these materials has been funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement 83447601 to WGBH, it may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.
In this animated video from LOOP SCOOPS, a boy named Ben is asked whether fresh squeezed orange juice or bottled juice is better for the environment. After initially choosing bottled juice, Ben learns the story behind it: oranges are grown in Florida and trucked to a plant in Kansas where they are squeezed, pasteurized, and filtered. The juice is bottled at another plant and then finally shipped to stores. The bottles, if not recycled, pile up in landfills. Ben then learns about the simpler life cycle of fresh squeezed orange juice, and recognizes that it generates less waste.
The life cycle of a plastic bottle starts with the creation of plastic. The vast majority of plastic bottles are made from petroleum, although some manufacturers use bioplastics made from plant materials. Manufacturers produce plastic pellets, which are melted down into "preforms." The preforms look like small test tubes; when heated, they expand and turn into water and juice bottles.
Plastic bottles have two major advantages over glass or metal containers: they are sturdy and lightweight. And because they are lightweight, shipping plastic bottles cuts down on fuel use, too.
But there are tradeoffs. Although most plastic bottles are very easy to recycle, about 65–85 percent still end up in landfills. In a landfill, a plastic bottle can take hundreds of years to break down and this can have a profound environmental impact. Because consumers have a powerful role in the fate of the plastics they use, many environmental organizations have focused their efforts on asking them to reduce their use of plastics, reuse them when possible, and ultimately recycle them.
Here are suggested ways to engage students with this video and with activities related to this topic.
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