Making the invisible visible

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In Beyond Recycling we take a closer look at the story behind all the stuff we use everyday.  Sometimes that involves looking at the raw materials of an ordinary object like a t shirt, and finding out how cotton is grown. Sometimes it involves learning how electricity is produced and how it powers our homes and classrooms.  The students have been working on their lifecycle projects in Madame Victoria’s and Ms. Cooper’s classes.

Our first step of the project involved looking at the raw materials of everyday items like pencils, jeans, soccer balls and more.  The students explored tins filled with raw materials and had to guess what they made. 

‘What do you mean rocks make stuff?’ asked one student. 

When you hold the minerals in your hand it is hard to imagine the energetic transformation needed to make the zipper and buttons on your jeans.  That is part of the magic of Beyond Recycling: it makes the invisible, visible.

It makes us think differently about the everyday objects we use. Ms Cooper had just handed out erasers that were made in Taiwan, and some made in Germany. She then asked her students: ‘Without even going into the raw materials, and can you contemplate the journey these objects took to here? Think of the trucks, trains, boats and planes that transported these erasers.‘ If know the stories behind the stuff we use everyday we would make different choices and use them with more respect.