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The Paper Trail

These activities will help you learn more about paper products and recycling.


Use the questions below or develop your own and forward them to companies that use paper products.

For example:

  • Call a printing company and ask how much paper they use each year, and how much of it is recycled.

  • Ask your local grocer how many cardboard boxes it unpacks each year, and what happens to them after they’re unpacked.

  • Call RecycleBC and ask how much paper is recycled in your community each year.

  • Contact a used clothing store like the Salvation Army your local shop to find out how much of their clothing is reused and what happens to clothing that doesn’t sell?

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Recycling - Paper Trail.png

Talk to the staff in your school and ask:

  • How does your school maximize the use of paper and minimize waste?

  • How much does your school recycle?

  • How much money is saved by recycling? Estimates are ok!

  • Consider a school-wide poll (with adult supervision) to see how many people recycle at home, take bottles back for deposit refund, buy used clothing? A great free site to do your own poll would be google forms.

If a school-wide poll isn’t possible, then name three ways that each of the items below can be reused, instead of throwing them away. Ask your classmates through an informal 'poll'

maybe at lunchtime or during class time (with teachers' permission) for their ideas.

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Examine your home and look for examples of products that could be recycled. How many are there? Discuss this with your family. Or, perhaps you can suggest some alternative products that are more environmentally friendly. Replacing the use of store-bought glass cleaner with more ecologically friendly products such as vinegar and water avoid putting chemicals into our water system. That’s one example. What others can you identify?

Can you find out which recyclable item makes up the largest percentage of our trash? What are some of the environmental problems created by excess trash? One example would be the bears who feed on our garbage instead of their natural diet. How would you suggest consumers reduce excess waste? Table below from Federal Government of Canada.

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Ask a local politician from all the major political parties in your community what the biggest environmental issue for your city/town/area. How are government and industries working collaboratively to resolve the issue? Maybe you could arrange for a politician and an industry representative to visit your classroom with your teacher's permission.

Download the PDF version of the 

Paper Trail Activity below:

Worksheets & Activity download
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