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Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Health, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Videos, 7 minutes, 56 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus


Solid Waste Disposal

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  • This video explains the sources of waste, what happens to waste, and the types of waste management.
  • Students will learn that solid waste is either burned in an incinerator or stored in a landfill.
  • There are standards for AP Environmental Science courses listed below the video and there are interactive questions to check for comprehension.
Teaching Tips


  • This fast-paced video will keep students engaged, while the animations help students understand the concepts.
  • A full transcript of the video is available with a tracking feature, so students can easily follow along.

Additional Prerequisites

  • In order to leave comments or record the scores from the practice questions, you must sign in.
  • The video does not discuss solutions for reducing the amount of trash we produce, which would include reducing consumption, reusing items, fixing things, and recycling more.


  • Environmental clubs or science classes could research the local solid waste disposal system and do a school awareness campaign to show the community where their trash goes.
  • Students could come up with ways to reduce solid waste and encourage the community to commit to producing less trash.
  • Engineering classes could brainstorm other ways to produce something valuable with trash.
  • Other resources on this topic include this Project Look Sharp lesson on food waste, this video about a landfill in New Jersey that will be inundated due to sea level rise, and this Greenpeace article on cleaning up trash.
Scientist Notes
This 8-minute video presents an overview of strategies for dealing with solid waste, including both industrial solid waste and municipal solid waste. The resource presents open and sanitary landfills, as well as waste incinerators. The resource is detailed and very clear, and is an excellent overview. 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.
      • HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
    • 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.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-3 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
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