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April 29, 2009


Recently, USEE had the pleasure of helping out with the Squatter's Brew Pub Recycled Materials Sculpture Contest. We had over 15 entries, all of which were wonderfully creative sculptures made completely from recycled materials. Grab a meal at Squatters this week and you'll be able to see them all on display. Congrats to everyone who participated!

All the recycling info inspired me to give you all a little quiz about recycling. The quiz comes from the Municipal Solid Waste Activity Guide published by Project Learning Tree. If you are interested in getting a copy, please email me at andree@usee.org and I'll give you the details (you have to participate in a 2 hour workshop that we can set up).

Here we go (answers below)...

1. If you live in a populated area, you're probably used to having someone come by and pick up your trash. When do you think regular trash collection began in the United States?
a. early 1900's
b. late 1700's
c. middle 1800's

2. Can you guess how much trash Americans threw away in 1994?
a. 1.43 thousand tons
b. 625.9 thousand tons
c. 209 million tons
d. 6.8 billion tons

3. Between 1980 and 1994, our rate of recycling and composting did what?
a. more than doubled
b. more than quadrupled
c. increased 5 percent
d. increased 100 percent

4. Below are some ways we deal with garbage. EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency) has a preferred order of use for these methods in a waste management system. What do you think the order is?
___ recycling and composting
___ landfilling
___ waste combustion
___ source reduction

5. Who developed the first trash dumps?
a. Anasazi
b. ancient Greeks
c. Babylonians
d. English barons

6. Compost can be a squirmy, hot mass of rotting garbage. Which organisms might you find that are turning this stuff into good soil?
a. bacteria
b. earthworms
c. fungi
d. meadow mice
e. mites
f. snakes


1. By the early 1900's most major cities has some type of collection system. 2. 209 million tons were produced in 1994. 3. More than doubled. It went from 10 percent to 24 percent. 4. EPA prefers this order: source reduction, recycling and composting, waste combustion, and landfilling. 5. The ancient Greeks developed the first garbage dumps in 500 B.C. 6. Bacteria, earthworms, fungi and mites along with other microorganisms and insects all help to break down organic material in compost.

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