Students & Teachers
The verdict is in — “pollution prevention,” preventing the generation of wastes at the source is the most effective means of stopping pollution. In terms of the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), a popular message being delivered to children today, pollution prevention is contained in the first two “R’s,” Reduce and Reuse. Although recycling is the best way to manage a waste once it’s generated, preventing the generation of the waste (Reduce and Reuse) is always better.
For example, say you receive the Sunday paper at home, but rarely actually read it. Some Sundays the paper goes straight to the recycling bin. It’s good to recycle that paper, but it would be even better to somehow reduce the number of newspapers you receive to equal the number that you will actually read. By doing this, that paper may not have to be created in the first place, which in turn will save trees and other resources used in the process of making paper.
There are at least three ways to read the paper without receiving every edition. One way would be to go to the library and read their paper, another would be to access it on the internet and read it electronically, and yet another would be to purchase only the editions you will read at the store. The first two options could both be accomplished at the library and will not generate any newspaper for you to manage. The last option will generate some newspaper for you to manage, but still far less than when you were receiving every newspaper.
Now, once you are finished with a newspaper, what do you do with it? Recycling is one option, and a good one, but if you could find a way to reuse it, that would be even better. You could share it with a friend, or use some of it like a rag when cleaning windows, and use the rest as a packaging in boxes. This entire process of rethinking how you do things in order to generate less waste and pollution, is pollution prevention, or the combination of the first two “R’s” Reduce and Reuse.
The most effective way to foster the behavior changes that need to take place in our society in order to generate less waste and pollution, is to educate our children. That’s why the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other environmental organizations have developed special programs and websites that cater to the needs of teachers, environmental educators, and students.
EPA HealthySEAT Software – All of EPA’s regulatory and voluntary programs for schools in a single free software tool. Designed to be customized by states or schools systems to meet their own priorities and needs. http://www.epa.gov/schools/healthyseat
Environmental Educators in Georgia – a clearinghouse for Environmental Education information in the state http://www.eeingeorgia.org
EEA – a professional education and networking association that promotes communication and education among professionals in the field of environmental education http://www.eealliance.org
“What Your Home Haz” – an HHW Jeopardy-style game by the University of Missouri Extension. Through this activity, children and adults can find out how much they know about household hazardous waste. http://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/wasteman/wm5001.htm
EPA’s “Kids, Students and Teachers” contains the Environmental Education Center for teachers, the EPA Student Center and Explorers’ Club for Kids www.epa.gov/epahome/students.htm
EPA has an interactive web site for kids called “Learn About Chemicals Around Your House,” which includes a house tour to identify HHW products www.epa.gov/opptintr/kids/hometour/index.html
EPA’s Environmental Education Center contains grant information, curriculum, project ideas and other resources for teachers www.epa.gov/teachers
EPA’s Student and Teacher’s Page contains environmental resources, such as curriculum, publications, and brochures. Some items are available in Spanish www.epa.gov/epaoswer/education/students.htm
EPA’s Interactive Site for Kids – Interactive games and stories designed for kids to learn about recycling and other environmental issues such as air and water quality www.epa.gov/kids
EPA Region 5 and Purdue University’s “Virtual House Tour” includes a cut out of a home and lists of different household hazardous products typically found in specific areas of a home. This site also includes “The Green Workout: Quizzes For Students K-12” http://www.purdue.edu/dp/envirosoft/housewaste/src/open.htm
P2AD’s “You’re the Solution to Water Pollution” (PPT, 2214KB) is designed for teachers and students to understand the effect of landscaping decisions and outdoor household chores on water quality. Click the link above to learn how to better protect your nearby streams.
Rivers Alive – maintained by the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream program, focuses on volunteer efforts for river cleanup events in Georgia, including many events with teachers and students www.riversalive.org
Environmental Education Sites/Links – California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) – Excellent list of environmental education links compiled by CIWMB www.ciwmb.ca.gov/schools/links/enviroed.htm
American Plastics Council – Contains educational materials for use in classroom www.americanplasticscouncil.org
Planet Protectors Club – www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/kids/index.htm. Downloadable environmental activity kit from the EPA.
An Ounce of Prevention – www.nsta.org – Downloadable source reduction curriculum for middle schools created by the National Science Teacher’s Association.
EPA Fact Sheet on School-run Recycling Program Contains information on implementing a school recycling program as well as curricula and activities for students.
EPA’s Reuse + Recycling = Waste Reduction: Guide for Schools and Groups (EPA Publication# 530K03001). Implementing a school recycling program (also available in Spanish). To order, go to www.epa.gov/ncepihom/orderpub.htm
Environmental Education Grants (www.epa.gov/teachers/grants.htm) Information on the environmental education grants offered by U.S. EPA.
Weyerhaeuser “Excellence in Recycling” Grant Program for Georgia’s Schools (www.weyerhaeuser.com/citizenship/philanthropy) Grants to Georgia’s schools to establish or expand recycling and waste reduction programs.