When we recycle, we often think of the next generation of Earth-dwellers that will eventually live with our waste. Many avid recyclers teach their children the importance of material reuse– but what if children without access to that education had a chance to change the world, too?
That’s exactly what The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) intends to provide. Partnering with The JASON Project, a program managed by the National Geographic Society that pairs students with high level scientists, ISRI plans to make recycling education part of an “age appropriate” school curriculum countrywide for grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.
ISRI has long been looking for a way to get recycling education into schools, says Kevin Lawlor, the Institute’s director of communications. ISRI tried developing a curriculum in-house “with varying success,” but they finally decided to combine efforts with The JASON Project six months ago after seeing the project’s success in other industries.
ISRI wants the curriculum, which is currently in development, to expand beyond the idea of simply “putting a can in the recycling and it becoming another can,” Lawlor says. Instead, they want children to understand the process of recycling and encourage them to “think bigger than the bin,” learning to understand that materials other than household containers are prime for recycling and reuse, how one commodity turns into another and more.
An example of a Bigger Than the Bin lesson can be found on ISRI’s website.