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.
The video shows footage of recycling facilities and provides an abundance of data and statistics.
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.
Chemistry classes can use this video to discuss the kinds of chemical reactions that occur during chemical recycling processes.
Economics classes can discuss the economic impetus for corporations such as SABIC to develop chemical recycling plants.
Science classes can collect single use plastic trash and then determine what percentage of the trash can be easily recycled and what percentage is likely to end up in a landfill.
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.
Science and Engineering
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
MS-PS1-3 Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.