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Recycling: ISRI Activities Collection

Grades 9-12

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries


Tech in the Cycle

Supporting Material

You will find the latest challenge in recycling as close as your cell phone or your tablet. Used electronic devices are piling up and represent a potential treasure trove of re-usable materials.


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Did you ever stop to consider what Fantasy Football and scientific modeling 9-12 have in common? Now is opportunity you have been waiting for!

Tires Shouldn't Retire

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This activity should keep you rolling along on the way to recycling.

Fashion Show

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We often take the materials in our clothing for granted. We think about color, texture or the way they resist heat and cold. We seldom think about the raw materials needed to make our clothing both practical and stylish. In this activity students will test and compare the properties of natural, synthetic and recycled fabrics...with surprising results.

Recycling Representatives

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Recycling has benefits for many different stakeholders. In this activity you will represent a citizen supporting a recycling petition and present to the local government.

Simply Aluminazing

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One of the most common minerals on the planet is also one of the most versatile.

The Crumb Rubber Debate

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Sometimes making decisions that are best for the environment and for human health can be complicated. Often, scientific evidence, opinion, and anecdotal reports get mixed together in batches that are difficult to separate. In this activity, you will research and debate the use of crumb rubber as artificial turf infill for a particular field based on the evidence while weighing multiple factors and considering the trade-offs.

Paper Recycling: Keep It Clean!

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Contamination in the recycling stream is one of the recycling industry’s largest challenges today. One in every 6 items thrown into the blue bin is actually not recyclable and can disrupt recycling efforts. In this activity, we will explore contamination in the paper recycling industry and challenge students to engineer some solutions to this problem.



Supporting Material

It's not quite as quick as flipping a top, but aluminum is one of the easiest materials to recycle.

Ferrous Metal

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Do you have a magnetic personality? Your car does, too. More than 2/3 of the mass of most cars is made of iron and steel - metals that are magnetic.


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If you are reading this in school, chances are you are looking at a piece of paper. The average student uses more than 300 pounds of paper a year! If all of that came from new fiber, every three students would use a full grown tree each year.


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Every machine has moving parts that move against one another. Between these parts friction creates heat, wastes energy, and can cause damage. Lubricants reduce the friction when a machine runs, lowering the temperature and maintaining the parts.


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Look in your refrigerator. How many products come in glass bottles or jars? It's likely you will find foods that are very acid, like pickles, tomatoes, and orange juice in them. Because foods don't dissolve glass, it's a great storage material. It also lasts for a long time - and that's part of the problem!

Precious Metals

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Here's a quick trivia question: What part of your car might eventually become jewelry? If you answered the catalytic converter, you'd be right. And if you don't already know what that part is, read on.


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Have you ever been asked if you had a latex allergy? Latex is one name for natural rubber. The special properties of latex rubber make it ideal for many purposes, including automobile tires. You can find it in many other everyday products like mats and track surfaces, mouse pads, and elastics.


Crawford Carpenter: Challenge and Constant Change


Some people are most comfortable when things don't change. Their ideal career would involve the same skills and the same work for a very long time. Others thrive with variety. Crawford T. Carpenter is llike that. His career in paper recycling has challenged him every day for decades.

Tracey Blaszak: Compliance and Conservation


Are you reading this on paper? Or on an eBook, computer or "personal digital assistant?" If you use any electronic device, it's probably new. And like many other people, you have last year's outmoded version of that device in your closet under your bed.

Mike Biddle: Tools for a Lifetime


Mike Biddle describes himself as a "garbage man." He says he chose this career because he hates waste. But while most people try to get rid of things they don't use any more, he tries to recapture them. He moved from traditional polymer research to building an innovative company that is far more efficient at recycling for this reason.

Stephen Jeffery: Finding Treasure in Pre-Owned Places


The field of electronics recycling is new to Dr. Stephen Jeffery - and to most others on the planet. Your parents probably used land lines and large, desk-top computers most of their lives. Today we move through new, smaller, and more complex forms of technology every few months.

Silvana Jones: International Juggler


The key to a successful recycling business can be summarized in the phrase "just in time." In Silvana Jones' company, SA Recycling, that means that they need to be ready and able to accept the products - mostly metal scrap and ore - when the seller gets them to all 50 locations througout CA, AZ, and NV via truck or rail. From there, they are processed and exported via ocean container or bulk vessels.

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