The Story Behind the Products We All Use

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 When you get up in the morning and brush your teeth with your electric toothbrush, pull on your jeans and t-shirt, and grab a pencil to write down today’s to-do list, do you ever stop to think about how the batteries you use, jeans you wear and pencil you just used were made?

It’s hard to believe, but everything we use, wear, eat and ultimately throw out, comes from the Earth. Your cell phone battery was once just bands of minerals within rocks beneath the surface of the Earth. Your jeans were once just cotton plants growing under a hot sun. Your pencil was once an enormous tree!

During the “Lifecycle of Stuff” lessons, students were assigned a common place item (e.g. Pencil, battery or jeans) and were given the task of writing the story behind the extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of their product. Students worked hard to piece together all of the many processes and work required to make our daily products.


In the end, teams of students presented their findings through Power Point stories, colourful poster diagrams, and panels of student experts. Enthusiasm (and some shyness) was evident during their presentations – students were excited to share their knowledge with their classmates.



So the next time you pick up a soccer ball or crack open a pop can, ask yourself what materials were required to make this and what will happen to this once I dispose of it? Then ask a Beyond Recycling student – they’ll fill you in.