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WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday.The Sound of Science is made possible by Ken Spears Construction

The Sound of Science - 'Recycling'

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Ann: Welcome to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I'm STEAM Educator Ann Shult.

Hollie: And I'm Hollie. Ann, I heard you got to attend the STEM Cafe last night called "Talking Trash" and I want to hear more about it.

Ann: It was a really excellent talk. Courtney Gallaher, associate professor, really had a lot to say about the history and how the recycling industry is changing so dramatically that it is becoming harder and harder to process recyclable material.

Hollie: I always heard that you're not supposed to recycle pizza boxes, that you should always clean your food containers out, is that the jist of it or was there more?

Ann: Yeah, that's the basic jist of it: that we need to really be careful about how we sort our recycling and what we put in those bins, and the idea that if you're not sure, put it in the trash as opposed to the recycling bins.

Hollie: Oh no, I'm big on the wishful thinking recycling but perhaps I should stop that. I know that we are producing more and more waste every day, so what more could we be doing beyond recycling? If it's becoming inefficient, does it need to change? Do we need to stop recycling?

Ann: No, don't stop recycling! We really have to keep recycling, but the other thing we need to do, and I like the statement that Gallaher mentioned that was, in terms of being more materialistic goods, materialistic in the way of thinking about: what are these materials made of? How can we use them? How can we reuse them so we are using less single-use plastics and waste products? Check out these jeans I have.

Hollie: Nice, they look like normal jeans.

Ann: Right? They are made of plastic fiber, isn't that cool?

Hollie: That's amazing. And I'm assuming plastic is one of those big things that we are seeing recycled a lot. So, in terms of recycling and trying to be more conscious with our consumption, is there anything else we can do?

Ann: Just keep recycling. Make sure, like you said earlier, that things are clean, and really, when we go shopping for goods and services, make sure we can reuse the stuff. Kind of like our grandparents and great-grandparents did years ago.

Hollie: This was The Sound of Science on WNIJ.

Ann: Where you learn something new every day.

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