Republic Services has introduced a free, downloadable curriculum designed to incorporate recycling education in schools and support students' real-world learning about sustainability and how to recycle properly.
The Recycling Simplified Education Program, designed with teachers for teachers, aligns with individual grade-level curriculum standards in multiple disciplines, such as science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), English, language arts and literacy, math and social studies. The curriculum contains step-by-step lesson plans for pre-kindergarten through 12th grades with supporting teaching materials, including classroom activities, videos, handouts, virtual field trips and completion certificates.
A recent Republic Services survey shows that while 88 percent of Americans agree recycling is important, they are confused about what materials belong in the recycling bin. In fact, 41 percent of the respondents failed a basic recycling quiz, despite 69 percent giving themselves an A or B when asked how much they knew about recycling.
"Most people care about the environment and want to recycle; however, many are genuinely unsure about how and what to recycle. In fact, about 30 percent of what people put in their recycling containers doesn't belong there," said Pete Keller, Republic's vice president of recycling and sustainability, in a statement. "By reinforcing recycling best practices in our schools, we can reduce recycling contamination rates and ensure local recycling programs remain sustainable for future generations."
The curriculum is structured to provide educators with flexibility to teach the lessons as a complete unit or incorporate into existing curriculum plans. Lessons within each grade range build upon students' current understanding and help them gain greater awareness of the broader environmental, sustainability and societal issues related to recycling and the conservation and reuse of natural resources.
The education program is available for free online at RecyclingSimplified.com along with tips, videos and resources to become a better recycler and reduce contamination rates.