On 22nd April, Casepak will be joining thousands of individuals and organisations in celebrating Earth Day. The Earth Day initiative was started in 1970 by US Senator, Gaylord Nelson, to build awareness of the issues facing the environment and the need for humans to change our practices to protect our planet.
This year, Earth Day will see hundreds of events take place all over the world, including a global climate summit hosted by US President, Joe Biden, which will be virtually attended by 40 world leaders.
Recycling has a vital part to play in reducing the human impact on the environment, helping to save both natural resources and energy when manufacturing products. For example, creating one tonne of paper from raw materials uses 24 trees. But, if a tonne of paper is recycled instead, it can save 4000kW of energy, or enough to power the average UK household for a year.
Statistics like these can be found across different recycling materials from it taking 95% less energy to recycle an aluminium can than to make a new one, to the fact that recycling a tonne of glass saves 246kg of CO2 emissions.
All of these go to show the positive impact that we can have upon our environment by increasing the efficiency of recycling practices. This can be achieved through simple tasks such as rinsing and drying materials before placing them in the correct recycling bin or from larger scale actions like encouraging producers to make all of their plastic products 100% recyclable.
One of the main focuses of this year’s Earth Day is to improve education surrounding the topic of climate change. In the days leading up to the main event, Earth Day will host a global youth climate summit and a global education summit to raise interest among young people.
As such, at Casepak we have come up with different activities for school students to get involved with to help them better understand the ways in which their recycling practices can help to protect our planet:
1. Create a Recycling Rota or League Table
As a school, you could put recycling bins into each classroom and each class could appoint a new pupil every day to be their ‘Recycling Hero’, responsible for ensuring that all the bins are filled with the correct materials.
To make it more exciting, you could compare the amount of recycling that each class gathers every week and give a prize to the class with the most correct recycling.
2. Complete a Recycling Scavenger Hunt
This is a great activity to get students outside and actively involved in helping the environment. Create a checklist of recyclable materials that each student must find e.g. an aluminium can, a plastic container. Then, walk around the school grounds picking up any litter and seeing which student can tick off all the items on their list first.
3. Write a story following the life of an aluminium can (or other recyclable objects)
Many people do not know how items like cans arrive in shops or what happens to them once we place them in the recycling bin. Each student can be given a different item that they can research and find out how it is made, where it is recycled and what it can be remade into. For more information about the recycling process you can look at our MRF page.
4. Debate who is responsible for increasing the rate of recycling
For older students, it may be more interesting to discuss the difficulties of implementing a circular economy without cooperation between government, producers and consumers. You could split the class into these three groups and get them to think of what their group could do to increase the efficiency of the recycling process.
5. Make recycled art for the classroom
If you are feeling creative, get students to bring in recyclable materials from home that you can shape into pieces of art. Whether you want to make plastic portraits of each other or sculptures of the students’ favourite animals, stick the different materials together to see what you can come up with.
We hope that you enjoy our suggestions for getting involved with Earth Day. Send us pictures of what your school is doing to celebrate the day and don’t forget to tag us on Twitter @CasepakLtd.