Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Materials Activities

From its source to you, each and every material you touch requires energy at every stage of its lifecycle. The raw materials for cans and bottles are extracted from Earth and transported to manufacturing facilities where they are refined, molded, and repackaged before being transported to other facilities to be filled with food, drink, household goods, or other useful things for your use. More transportation takes them to your local store where they are stored and possibly air conditioned before you pick them up to use them. Removing materials from landfills and moving them back into the consumption cycle (recycling!) helps cut energy use from this process. Recycling can be done at a local level for a big impact on overall energy consumption.
Hunt for Recycling

One of the ways to reduce overall landfill waste, is to remove materials from the waste stream by recycling. Knowing what to recycle is the first step to more sustainable consumption.

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Investigating Recycling Signs

Gary Anderson created a recycling symbol in 1970. The three arrows broadly represent the three tenets: recycle, reduce, reuse. They form a continuous circle (more accurately, triangle) representing the ideal of sustainability.

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Comparing Plastics

Most items made of plastic are marked for recycling with a number 1 to 7. These numbers indicate what kind of plastic makes up the item. In this activity, students will use their knowledge of the numbers to categorize different plastics. You can also pair this activity with Hunt for Recycling and explain to students that some materials are more readily recyclable than others.

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Investigate: Energy in Texas

There's no doubt that oil and gas have had an unmistakable impact on Texas. It is a major industry employing hundreds of thousands of people today, but in the grand scheme of the history of Texas and North America, oil and gas is still an emerging industry.

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Early Oil in Texas

The lifetime of the East Texas Field stretches across one of the most rapid periods of change known to history. When it was discovered, the Great Depression was just beginning, computers were mechanical, and horses still provided farm labor in many places.

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Where are the Shale Plays?

Natural resources are not evenly distributed across the United States or even across the State of Texas. Looking at the horizon you can see if you are near the sea or surrounded by timber, but other resources crucial to our daily lives are less obvious.

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Watt Watchers of Texas is a Partner Program of Smart Energy Education.
Watt Watchers of Texas. Copyright © 2020 The University of Texas at Austin. All Rights Reserved.
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