Applied Science - Built Environment (1)
Pre Lab

  • Discovering the major types of garbage.
  • Exploring how we dispose of solid wastes.


  • burning
  • dump
  • landfill
  • recovery
  • worksheet

Students use a worksheet to describe solid waste.


Students have learned that technology created many modern conveniences. However, with more advanced technology and more products, additional garbage is created. This unit illustrates where our garbage goes. We will focus on solid waste. Solid waste is any useless, unwanted, or discarded material that is not a liquid or a gas.

The major types of garbage are: paper, glass, metal, plastics, and rubber. Over 90% of all solid wastes are deposited on or under land. The most common methods of disposing solid wastes are: open dumps, landfill, and burning.

Refuse is collected either manually or mechanically by a service provided by cities. In some large cities like New York, taxes pay for the service. In many cities the service is paid for by individuals. The refuse is then taken to a disposal site which includes open dumps, landfills, burning dumps, or recovery dump site.

In open dumps, everything is dumped directly on land and left uncovered. Landfills are where wastes are spread in layers then compacted and covered with a fresh layer of soil each day. Burning dumps are where garbage is simply dumped and burned. Recovery dumps are where recycled materials are separated out from the rest and then taken elsewhere to be processed into useful products once again.

Many cities are running out of landfill space, and have begun to transport refuse to areas of sparsely inhabited areas.


  1. Ask students to describe SOLID WASTE by giving you examples. Point out that one man's garbage can be another man's treasure. Use examples of aluminum cans, paper, or glass. In the U.S. scrap metals are a big business.
  2. Use photos from magazines that show solid waste not being properly discarded.
  3. Ask students where local garbage goes. If you don't know, call city hall or look in the telephone directory.


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