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Database Provider

Author

PBS NewsHour

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Chemistry, Engineering

Regional Focus

Global

Recycling Plastic Has Been an Uphill Challenge. Could Chemical Recycling Change That?

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Synopsis
  • This video details the traditional problems with recycling plastic and provides information on new chemical recycling technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way plastic can be broken down.
  • It also provides a brief and engaging introduction to the burgeoning field of chemical recycling, while reiterating the fact that recycling alone will not be enough to eliminate plastic waste.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The video shows footage of recycling facilities and provides an abundance of data and statistics. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • The concept of urban mining is introduced, but it is not defined in the video. 
  • Students should be familiar with terms such as polymer, virgin plastic, and solvent. 

Differentiation

Scientist Notes
The resource underscores the use of technology to recycle plastics, although these methods are still undergoing research to boost efficacy and are not sufficient to draw down plastic pollution globally. There may not be a silver bullet yet, but actions can be taken collectively to stem the tide of plastic consumption through a sustainable consumption plan. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS.ETS1.3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • 7.PS1.3 Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
  • Social Sciences
    • Economics (K-8)
      • 8.13 Assess the function of imports, exports, innovation, and entrepreneurship in a market economy.
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