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Garbage: Investigate What Happens When You Throw It Out    by Donna Latham order for
by Donna Latham
Order:  USA  Can
Nomad, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Long before recycling was popular or even discussed, my grandfather used to love to admonish us by saying, 'Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!' That sentence captured his frugal, no-nonsense German attitude when it came to cleaning your dinner plate or making clothing or shoes last.

It has been over fifty years since Grandpa gave voice to these sentiments and today the reuse, reduce and recycle mentality he espoused has captured everyone's attention.

This book, with its 25 hands-on projects, focuses on how to reverse the modern throwaway mentality and decrease the mounds of trash we still produce. Recommended for children age nine and older, Donna Latham's well illustrated volume explores the science of garbology.

Besides learning about what archaeologists have discovered by studying ancient trash heaps and how untreated garbage has created problems like plagues and epidemics, the author follows the trash trail and looks at what happens to it when it leaves the home, work place or public building. The reader will learn about the importance of the landfill compactor and the role biodegradation plays in breaking down waste.

Of course, there are individual chapters devoted to the techniques that one can use to reduce, reuse and recycle the refuse we produce in our daily lives.
Throughout the book you'll also find special vocabulary words related to the topic such as closed-loop life cycle, methane, dioxin, and leachate.

Also, look for the Trash Flash boxes that contain facts and tidbits about garbage. For example, did you know that two gallons of recycled motor oil can generate enough electricity to power a house for 24 hours or that the ancient Maya used recycled broken pottery and stones to construct their temples?

The suggested projects range from investigating a mini midden (waste basket) to snagging air pollution on a stick-it can and making a junk mail bead necklace.

Both teachers and parents trying to raise their students' or children's environmental consciousness will find this a very useful resource. The instructions for the projects are clear and there's lots of good information here.

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