The Daily Waste Times
Adapted from Waste - A Hidden Resource, by Keep America Beautiful
Back to Trash Goes to School

language arts
social studies
CONCEPT: Using the newspaper to increase awareness of waste management issues.
OBJECTIVE: Students will be able to:
(1) describe qualities of a newspaper article that make it effective,
(2) define waste and identify local waste problems and practices, and
(3) select one component of a newspaper which communicates about the
issues of waste management.
MATERIALS: newspaper articles on waste management
KEYWORDS: issue, waste management
BACKGROUND: The expression "The pen is mightier than the sword" means that an idea can be advanced and attitudes can be changed more effectively through the written word than through battles. Historically, newspapers have played an important role in social issues. On almost any given day there are references in the newspapers to the issue of waste. Citizens are becoming more concerned about what is happening to the tons of waste generated every day and how this affects our environment. The major purpose of this activity is to provide an opportunity for students to respond to the issues of waste management through journalism.
1. With the students, analyze the components of a newspaper (editorial, short article, photo story, etc.) in terms of the qualities that contribute to the newspaper's effectiveness or appeal.
a. Assign to each student (or team of students) one of the discussed components of a newspaper. Each student (or team) will be responsible for producing an example of the newspaper component assigned to him/her (or the team).
b. Explain to the students that they will be writing and publishing a special edition of a mini-newspaper focusing on the issues of waste management.
2. Review with the students the definition of "waste" and discuss our attitude toward waste.
a. Discuss waste management in terms of waste disposal. Discuss current disposal methods (usually dumping into a landfill); costs; regulatory agencies (Environmental Protection Agency and State agencies); options that can reduce the amount that must be landfilled (reuse, recycling, composting, incineration); and the responsibility for managing waste (everyone's responsibility).
b. Ask each student or team of students to read resource materials pertaining to waste and to read and clip newspaper articles about waste problems. Post the newspaper articles as they are clipped and brought in.
3. Have each student write a short article or editorial, or produce a photo story (or other newspaper component) on an aspect of waste management.
a. Compile the students' articles into a mini-newspaper.
b. Reproduce the mini-newspaper for distribution in the school and/or community.
1. Interview people who are involved in waste management (e.g., elected officials, sanitary landfill operators, recycling center personnel, representatives of industries that use recycled materials) and write an article about your findings.
2. Collect photographs related to waste (landfill sites, home waste ready for pick up, activities that generate waste, recycling centers, etc.) and use the pictures for other assignments or projects.
3. Plan a class project of collecting data and photographs concerning waste management and writing an article for publication in a local or regional newspaper.
4. Invite a reporter who has written a waste management story to visit the class and discuss the article he/she wrote.
5. Critique some of the articles that were collected from newspapers. What statements are misleading? What do they make the reader think about?
Back to top