Closing the Loop' with Kinnaird Elementary

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Over the last couple of weeks, the Beyond Recycling class at Kinnaird Elementary has been learning about the story of our stuff. The class investigated every step in the ‘Life Cycle’ of everyday items, starting with the extraction of raw materials from the Earth, the manufacturing, distribution and consumption of goods and finally, the last stage in the life cycle of stuff: Disposal. The students noticed that the linear life cycle of stuff differs from the "loopier" life cycle of natural things. All too often, the life cycle of stuff ends with disposal in a landfill. By throwing away an old item, we also throw away all the raw materials it is made up of. Luckily, we are able to "Close the Loop" by recycling! Recycling allows raw materials to be reused again and again and keeps them "cycling". In groups, the students investigated the life cycle of glass bottles, pop cans, pencils and blue jeans. Each group presented their findings, explaining each stage in the life cycle, environmental impacts associated with each stage and finally, interesting ways to keep their product’s raw materials "cycling". We all agreed that loopy life cycles are the best!