• Views 166
  • Favorites
Photo via Unsplash

Database Provider


Be Smart


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Economics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 12 minutes, 43 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States


YouTube Video

Recycling Is Broken. Here's How We Can Fix It.

Ask a Question

  • This video explains how misconceptions about recycling can create more waste. 
  • Students will learn that most recycling facilities are equipped to handle very specific types of recyclable materials and that placing non-recyclable or dirty objects in a recycling bin can cause the bin's contents to be put in a landfill. 

Teaching Tips


  • This informative video will inspire students to learn more about recycling in their own community.
  • The video reminds viewers that reducing waste and reusing items are more effective at decreasing the amount of trash than recycling.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video contains advertisements.
  • The video's content ends at 11:28.


  • Science classes or environmental clubs could research the local recycling requirements and write an article for the school newspaper or parent newsletter with information about recycling specific to their area.
  • Economics classes could discuss why China no longer purchases recyclables from other countries and whether or not there are economic reasons for the United States to invest in processing its own recyclables.
  • Other resources on this topic include this PBS NewsHour video on new technology that could make recycling plastic easier, this video about a woman who used zero single-use plastics for a whole month, and this Vox video on plastic pollution in the oceans.
Scientist Notes
This video talks about the issues facing the recycling industry and offers solutions. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.6.6-8 Draw on multiple disciplinary lenses to analyze how a specific problem can manifest itself at local, regional, and global levels over time, identifying its characteristics and causes, and the challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address the problem.
  • Related Resources


    Login to leave a review