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Database Provider


PBS Wisconsin Education


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, History, English Language Arts

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Videos, 5 minutes, 42 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Ebooks
  • Artwork

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin, Central Sands (CESA 5)


Google Slides

Milly Zantow: Recycling Revolutionary

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  • This resource explores how Milly Zantow started a global movement to recycle plastics, what motivated her to start this movement, and what challenges she faced in the movement's early phases.
  • The resource includes a digital book with audio, a video, a brief biography, and a photo gallery.
Teaching Tips


  • This video shows that one person can make a massive difference.
  • The digital book and video can accommodate ESL learners with audio and subtitles.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students need to understand the environmental impacts of landfills and plastic pollution.
  • Students need to know what decomposition is and why it's important.


  • This resource could support an activity or lab exercise where students see how fast different materials break down in soil.
  • This resource could enhance a classroom discussion on how many elected officials lack a background in natural sciences and the consequences of this.
  • This resource could augment a lesson about greenhouse gas emissions produced by landfills and how these emissions exacerbate global climate change.
  • This resource could supplement a classroom discussion on what government regulations could be put in place to compel businesses to use a more circular model for their products, through bottle exchanges or other means.
Scientist Notes
This resource from PBS Wisconsin Education is an animated video biography of Milly Zantow, a pioneer in plastic recycling. The closing of a local landfill packed with plastic waste inspired Milly to begin her work as a pioneer in plastic recycling, a journey guided by her upbringing in the Great Depression when nothing could be wasted. The video shows how she spoke to local government leaders, sought out experts, and then staked her own savings to invest in equipment to recycle plastic, showing students how they can personally be advocates for the environment. When the task of sorting plastic waste became too burdensome, the video shows Milly’s role in the inventions of the numbering system now used worldwide to help make sorting plastic for recycling easier. This video is packed with fun animations, clear narration, and subtitles in both English and Spanish. Questions are also included to help foster classroom discussion or potentially for writing prompts. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.14.3-5 Explain probable causes and effects of events and developments.
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