|Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)|
|Activities, activities and more activities|
ISSUE 1: BAG IT!
QUESTION: If given an option, should you choose a paper or plastic bag for your groceries?
pros: made from a renewable resource; biodegradable; recyclable; reusable
cons: most made, at least partially, with virgin fiber instead of recycled paper; timber often grown using chemical fertilizers; paper manufacturing releases toxics and other pollutants into the air and water; bulky; paper takes up more space in landfills than plastic
pros: easier to carry; cheaper to manufacture; leak proof, take up less landfill space; recyclable in some places; some are made with petroleum waste products
cons: can harm wildlife; most recyclable ones are not recycled; bits of plastic can leach into water supplies as degradable plastic breaks down; most plastics are made from a nonrenewable resource; manufacturing releases toxics and pollutants into the air and water
ISSUE 2: THE BABY-BOTTOM COVER-UP
QUESTION: Should people buy cloth diapers or disposable diapers?
pros: often cheaper; reusable; made from renewable resources; biodegradable; human waste treated in sewage treatment plants instead of going into landfills; save landfill space; can prevent rashes in some babies
cons: require energy to manufacture, wash, and deliver, energy-use creates air and water pollution; detergents can create water pollution; cotton often grown using pesticides and chemical fertilizers
pros: convenient; keeps baby's skin drier
cons: human waste can carry disease, creating risk for garbage handlers; made from a nonrenewable resource; non biodegradable; manufacturing creates air and water pollution; take up landfill space; degradable ones can break down into tiny bits of plastic that leach into water supplies.
ISSUE 3: SODA SENSE
QUESTION: Should you buy sodas in plastic or glass bottles?
pros: cheap; lightweight; recyclable in some places; inert in landfills
cons: made from a nonrenewable resource; non biodegradable; manufacturing creates air and water pollution; degradables can create water pollution; limited uses for recycled plastic; difficult to sort and recycle; recycled plastic is not as durable as virgin plastic
pros: cheaper and easier to recycle; can be recycled many times without losing strength; made from abundant natural resources
cons: heavy; breakable; non biodegradable; cost more to transport; recycling uses a lot of water and can create water pollution
ISSUE 4: BURN, BABY, BURN
QUESTION: Which is the better alternative for disposing of the solid waste we don't recycle burning it in incinerators or dumping it in landfills?
pros: greatly reduce the volume of trash; save landfill space; can recover energy and resources; reduce the threat of rat, roach, and other pest infestation
cons: expensive to build and operate; may discourage people from recycling (need a high volume of garbage to operate); create toxic ash that can leach into water supplies when landfilled; people don't want them nearby; require separation of trash into burnables and non-burnables
pros: easy because waste doesn't need to be separated or sorted; generate methane gas, which can be recovered for fuel; can sometimes reuse the site for other purposes
cons: hazardous materials can leach into water supplies; generate methane gas that can cause explosions if not vented; take up valuable land space; buried biodegradable materials don't biodegrade; buried resources are wasted; people don't want them nearby
ISSUE 5: A "GROWING" DILEMMA
QUESTION: Should homeowners use chemical lawn service companies or rely on organic lawn care? (Note: Organic lawn care uses no toxic herbicides or pesticides and no chemical fertilizers. People can either take care of their lawns themselves, using organic methods, or hire organic landscaping services.)
CHEMICAL LAWN CARE
pros: effective in short term for controlling pests; provides "manicured" look; easy
cons: expensive; long-term effects not clear; chemicals made from nonrenewable resources; chemicals wash off in rain and pollute water supplies; chemicals can build up in soil; chemicals can poison people, pets, and wildlife; manufacturing and transporting chemicals can create air and water pollution
ORGANIC LAWN CARE
pros: non toxic; can be less expensive; maintains ecological life-support systems; causes less pollution
cons: can take hard work if professionals not hired; short-term pest control may not be effective