Eating More Energy Than You Think!
- Adapted from A-way with
Waste: A Waste Management Curriculum for Schools, 2nd ed., by
State of Washington, Dept of Ecology
- Trash Goes To School
Waste Management Institute
- GRADE LEVELS:
- SUBJECT AREAS:
home economics, math
Every product we make or use has "hidden" energy and
Students will understand that different forms of packaging require
different amounts of energy.
- MATERIALS: several
products to analyze
- handouts: Tables
1 and 2, Table 3
calorie, British Thermal Unit (BTU)
About 1550 calories are needed to make the aluminum can that
holds diet soda. Zero calories are in the soda, so...if you
wanted to get maximum energy, you would eat the can!
- The unit of heat used in science is
the calorie (cal.), also called gram-calorie or small calorie.
It is defined as the amount of heat energy needed to raise one
gram of water 1 degree centigrade.
- In nutrition, the unit of food energy
is the Calorie (Cal.), also called kilogram-calorie, or great
calorie. It is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise
one Kilogram of water 1 degree centigrade. It is equal to 1000
- The small c, capital C difference is
important. Only the nutritional calorie uses capital C.
- Engineers use a different heat energy
standard called the British Thermal Unit (BTU). It is defined
as the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water
1 degree fahrenheit. One BTU = 252 calories.
- *EXTRA NOTES:
- 1 pound = 454 grams
degree C = 5/9 (degree F - 32)
1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds
- 1. Using information from Table 1,
determine and compare the energy necessary to package the sample
- 2. In Table 2, fill in the price (current
value) of the foods and compare the prices with the amount of
- 3. Determine the amounts of energy
required for the individual containers. Where necessary, divide
the energy per pound by the correct weight of the container being
- 4. By referring to Table 3, discuss
the environmental impacts of container manufacturing and disposal.
Ask: What are some advantages of recycling as compared to disposal
in a landfill (saves disposal costs, conserves energy, reduces
waste of nonrenewable resources).
- What are some different types of packaging
commonly used for your favorite foods?
- Which packaging material uses the most
energy to produce? Least?
- How can we, as careful consumers, reduce
waste and the use of energy and resources while we consume?
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