how do we treat our trash in Indiana?

Last updated: July 22, 2020

Math Skill: Interpreting circle graphs (whole numbers) 

Science Subject: Protection of Earth’s resources

Grade level: 4th5th grades

Area level: State-scale

Environmental Area: Recycling

Purpose: Understand how trash is treated in our state and develop awareness of waste reduction



The recycling rate in Indiana has been increasing and it improved from 16.8% in 2017 to 20% in 2018. However, the rate is still relatively low. The low recycling rate results in a higher percentage of trash (75%) ending up in landfills (IDEM, 2019). Vast amounts of waste disposal have caused several environmental problems such as water contamination and natural resource depletion, placing burdens on the ecosystem in our country. In addition, emissions of methane, one type of greenhouse gas produced at landfills, substantially contributes to global climate change. In 2014, House Enrolled Act 1183 (HEA 1183) established a 50 percent recycling goal for Indiana. Educating the importance of recycling in Indiana becomes more critical than ever.


Environmental impacts from municipal solid waste (MSW) & What we candy



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The purpose of this activity is to enhance students’ skills in analyzing circle graphs and probability. Using information on how our trash wastreated in Indiana, this activity provides a worksheet related to data analysis. The circle graphs were created based on the 2018 Recycling Activity Summary prepared byIndianaDepartmentofEnvironmentalManagement  in November 2019.


Worksheet & answer key

Math Skill: Interpreting circle graphs (whole numbers) 

Using the circle graph that shows how the trash was treated in Indiana in 2018,students are asked to complete questions. Questions include “How is the trash more likely to be treated in our state, recycled or sent to landfills?



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