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Recycling Saves Energy Game

1. Place aluminum, glass , plastic, paper and steel into compartments of a cardboard cup caddie as shown in the        photo

2. Mark the correct estimated energy saving percentage on the bottom of each item


Aluminum Can: 95%
Steel Can: 60-74%
Plastic Bottle: 66% (depending on the type of resin)
Paper: 60%
Glass Bottle: 30%

3. Before telling the students the correct percentages, have them try to match the five

    items with the correct percentages (this can be done individually or by taking a group


4. Next, let students remove items, check their guesses and discuss how energy savings

    take place.

Much less energy is required to:

  • Re-melt a metal can than to mine and smelt ore
  • Re-melt a plastic bottle than to pump and refine oil
  • Re-pulp paper than to log trees and “cook” wood chips
  • Re-melt a glass bottle than to mine and process silica sand, limestone, soda ash, etc.

Discuss why saving energy matters:

  • Energy is expensive
  • Energy sources are often dangerous (think oil spills and nuclear radiation)
  • Many commonly used energy sources are nonrenewable (coal, oil)
  • Burning coal and oil contribute to air pollution and climate change



701 Gervais St., Suite 150-538

Columbia, SC 29201-3066


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