Carry a trash bag around with you for 24 hours collecting all you waste, except:
- Food products
- Feminine hygiene products, bandages, or anything else that would have bodily fluids or blood
Data & Observations
analysis & Conclusion
Questions Specific to Lab
- What is done to control the amount of pollution created from a landfill? Landfills take many precautions to limit their emission of pollution. They install storm water drainage systems, leachate collection systems, and methane collection systems. They also monitor their groundwater so as not to pollute it. For example, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, enacted in June, 2010, controls the amount of methane let out into the air. The act calls for machines that collect and dispose of the gas that is emitted from the waste.
- Many people think landfills should not be expensive since they are a hole in the ground. Explain why a landfill such as above can cost in the millions of dollars to build and keep up. There are many ways a landfill has to check and recheck everything they do. They have to make sure they aren't polluting the air and water. They have to keep the trash in one place. The equipment required for a landfill is very expensive. Landfills do not last forever, so people have to keep finding new sites. After a landfill is done, it doesn't make any money. Plus, after it's done, people have to revisit it to make sure it's not making any problems.
- How did the amount of waste you and your family each create compare with what you expected? The expectation was not a huge amount. Most of the trash collected was from food. If food companies made their bags and boxes recyclable and compostable, the trash amount would decrease. The family recycles a lot, so they don't create that much trash.
- What are some reasons the average could be different then your (or family's) amount for one day? Recycling is one big reason there was not that much trash in this experiment. The family tested recycles a lot and is very environmentally aware. They try to buy products that do not have to be thrown away. They have a compost and reuse a lot of the items that they could easily throw away. Therefore, another family that is tested could have much larger results because they do not have a compost or a recycling bin.
- Calculate how much trash you accumulate in one month's time: Approximately 3,165 grams of trash is collected in one month.
- There are approximately 1,300 students at our school. How much trash do you estimate would be produced by all the students in our school over the course of 10 months (one school year)? If each student creates about 105.5 grams of trash per day, in 10 months, the school would have 41,145,000 grams of trash built up, not including teachers.
- What was the total weight of your recyclable material? The weight of the recyclable matter collected came to 90.9 grams. 86% of the trash collected was recyclable.
- What was the total weight of your reusable material? The weight of the reusable matter collected came to 64.8 grams. 61% of the trash collected was reusable.
- What was the total weight of your compostable material? The weight of the compostable matter collected came to 0 grams. 0% of the trash collected was compostable.
- Now, calculate how much trash you would produce if all the recyclable, reusable, and compostable material was not in your trash bag? How much trash would that save over the course of one year? If all of the recyclable, reusable, and compostable material was removed from the trash bag, only one item would remain, weighing 14.6 grams. The weight of trash based on the collection of 105.5 grams per day, amounting to 38,507 grams per year, would decrease substantially to result in 5,329 grams per year. Therefore, 33,178 grams of trash would be saved.
- How much could the school save through the course of one school year if all the recyclable, reusable, and compostable material was not thrown in the landfill? The school would only create about 5,694,000 grams of trash in a school year. That would save 35,451,000 grams of trash.
- Possible sources of error. Although the trash collected was pulled from the garbage bin and was not collected throughout the day, the amount pulled was a day's worth of trash. But, this might have created error because the collector could have missed a few pieces. Nevertheless, it was still the same amount of one 24 hour period. Another source of error could have been the scale used. It seemed to have a few problems, so the weigher did not trust it entirely.
- Application. This experiment really exposes how much trash is thrown away. It's crazy to think that if every person in the world threw away as much trash that was collected in this certain experiment, 738,500,000,000 grams of trash is created every day. But, if a portion of the items were recycled, composted, or reused, the world would only create 102,200,000,000 grams per day. That would save 636,300,000,000 grams of trash a day. No wonder people are realizing they need to be a bit more green. We need this planet, and if we keep throwing all that trash away, it's going to get so polluted that it'll look like the earth in Wall-E. If we can all get educated and work together, we can easily avoid that outcome.