America Recycles Day is this Sunday, November 15 and we want to encourage all of our readers, guests, and friends to make an effort to be a little more “green”. Of course, people have the best of intentions when it comes to recycling, conserving, and reusing, but getting into the groove of being more green can be difficult.
First, here are some need-to-know stats about America’s waste, conservation, and more:
- The average person produces about 4 pounds of trash a day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste a year.
- Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year and the EPA estimates that 75% of that is recyclable. Yet our rate of recycling is only about 30%.
- We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year, which is unacceptable, as 48.1 million Americans live in food-insecure homes. If we cut down on food waste and composted, it would reduce the same amount of green house gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.
- Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on an iPod. Recycling 100 cans can power your bedroom through a two day Netflix binge of your favorite show.
America, we can do better, but where do we start? You can start by having a candid conversation with your family about small, fun ways you can start reducing, reusing, and recycling.
To kick things off, visit our “Celebrate Earth Day With “Green” Family Fun post and then scroll below for an awesome DIY upcycling project from the Museum’s Education Department:
A great way of reducing waste — and in turn aid to your impact on the environment — is to reuse your wasted materials. This is often referred to as “Upcycling” and involves re-purposing your trash items in an effort to find another use for them. Such examples include milk carton planters, aluminum can stoves, and recycled art and sculptures made from trash materials.
Use recycled items to create an air cannon and learn about air pressure!
Upcycled Air Canon
- 1 toilet paper tube or plastic bottles with the bottom cut out.
- Used or leftover balloon
- Duct Tape
1) Cut the thin end of a balloon off
2) Stretch the wide end to a tube or the bottle with the end cut off
3) Tape it in place
4) Pull on the back were the balloon is taped as far as you can and let it go.
As you pull back on the balloon you build force. Once you let go, you cause that force to move forward and it takes the air inside the tube/bottle with it. As the force of the balloon forces the air out, it creates a vortex as the air reacts to the force of the balloon snapping back into place.
Spend some time upcycling with your kiddos and then be sure to visit us for some green-themed public programming on Sunday, November 15 for America Recycles Day!