Oh no! Sid the Science Kid’s favorite toy robot, Flip, has broken! He tries to fix Flip but can’t, so he throws him away. What will happen to Flip once he’s in the trash? And what happens to all our trash? Read and play along with Sid in this interactive story as he explores what happens to trash after we throw things away, how recycling is good for the environment, and how you can actually reuse trash by turning it into something new.
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“Check out my favorite robot toy. This is Flip. Meep. Zap. Beep. I’m. Flip. The robot. Pleasure. To. Meet. You.” As Sid lifts Flip’s arms to wave, they come off with a big SNAP.
“Uh-oh! Hmm.” Sid tries to fix Flip’s arms by pushing them back on, but it’s no use. They are broken.
“I’m looking for my purple pen. I can’t find it anywhere. Have you seen it?”
Sid shakes his head no.
“I really need a better place to keep my pens. What do you have there, Sid?”
“It’s my robot, Flip. He’s broken. See? I have to throw him in the trash.”
“Maybe you could fix him.”
“I tried fixing him, but he won’t go back together. His arms snapped right off. Now I have to throw him away.”
Sid throws Flip into the trash. “Hmm.” Sid has a big question. “What will happen to Flip once he’s in the trash? What does happen to our trash?”
“Sid, let’s look on the computer to see where trash goes.”
“Oh! I know this part. We put our trash in a trash bin at the curb. Then the garbage truck comes to pick it up, and it crunches the garbage into the truck!”
“That’s right. Then the garbage truck takes the garbage to a landfill. It’s a big hole in the ground filled with trash.”
“That’s where my garbage goes? What happens after that?”
“The trash gets covered in dirt.”
“And the dirt makes it go away?”
“I’m afraid not. Most of the trash stays there for a long, long time.”
“Wow. I didn’t know that. So Flip will go to a landfill and sit there for a long, long, LONG time?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“I want to learn more about this! Can we make less trash?”
“That sounds like a great question to bring up at school, Sid.”
When Sid gets to school, he looks around the classroom. “Hmm. Let’s look around and see if we can find anyone throwing something away.”
“Gabriela just used the last bit of yellow paint from the paint jar. Look, she’s tossing it in the trash.”
“And look over there! May just finished drinking from her water bottle. Uh-oh, there she goes. She’s throwing it in the trash bin. And look! What’s Gerald doing?”
“I’m a cereal monster! Roar, yum yum yum yum!” He dumps the empty cereal box in the trash bin. It lands with a loud thud.
At rug time, Sid asks about his big question. “Teacher Susie. I’m trying to understand what happens to our trash.”
“That’s very interesting, Sid. What did you come up with?”
“First I observed how we make trash.”
“Smart thinking! What did you see?”
“Gabriela tossed a paint jar in the trash. May threw out a water bottle. And Gerald threw away a cereal box. There are lots of other things in here too. An old paper towel roll. A newspaper. A soup can. Is there anything else we can do with all this trash?”
“Of course! One way we can make less trash is to recycle it.”
“Recycle? What does that mean?”
“I’ll show you! Come on, everybody! To the . . .”
“Super Fab Lab!”
“Investigate! Explore! Discover!”
“We recycle by sorting trash in these special trash bins, and then our trash gets taken to a recycling center. This bin is for paper and cardboard.”
“Like my cereal box!”
“Yes! Paper and cardboard can be made into new paper. And this one is for glass.”
“Gabriela’s paint jar can go in there.”
“And what about my water bottle?”
“That goes in the plastic bin. Glass and plastic can be turned into other glass and plastic things. By recycling, the trash stays out of the landfill and makes brand new things.”
“There’s something else you can do with your trash instead of recycling or throwing it away. You can reuse it. Reusing is a way to make something that you can use out of something you would have thrown away or recycled. I’ve reused something right here in the Super Fab Lab. Can you see it?”
“The crayon holder! It used to be a soup can, and now it holds our crayons.”
“That’s right! I didn’t throw away the empty can. I reused it! Now everyone look at a piece of trash from the recycling bins. Can you think of another way to use it?”
“I have a glass paint jar. If I turn it upside-down I can make a musical instrument.”
“When my bottle is like this, it reminds me of a fuzzy caterpillar. I’ll make a caterpillar toy!”
“If I draw a face on it, it can be a cereal monster! And I’m an expert on cereal monsters. Roar, yum yum yum yum.”
“OK, scientists. Time to record your observations in your journals. Let’s draw more ways to make something new out of something old. First, think of something else you throw away. Then, think of a way to reuse it!”
“I throw away my T-shirts when they get too small. But instead of throwing them away, I can sew them together and, TA-DA, it’s a blanket! I always need blankets in the winter. Brrr.”
“Smart thinking, Gabriela. It’s wonderful to make something we need. What about you, Sid?” asks Teacher Susie. “What kind of trash can you reuse?”
“Well, I threw my robot Flip away this morning, but now I don’t want to. Maybe I can turn him into something new!”
Suddenly Sid gets a very big idea. “I know what I can do with Flip!”
When Sid gets home from school, he runs to his room to take Flip out of the trash, but Flip isn’t there.
“Hey Mom, have you seen Flip? I need him. I know just what to do with Flip instead of throwing him in the trash.”
“Sorry, Sid. I already took the trash outside so the garbage truck can pick it up.”
“Mom! We’ve got to get that robot. I can make him into something else!”
“Well, maybe if we hurry . . .”
Sid runs outside as fast as he can. He sees the trash bin at the curb, just as the garbage truck turns the corner. Flip sits right on top. “Aha! There you are, Flip!”
The garbage truck screeches to a stop right in front of the house, ready to take the trash away.
“Phew! That was close.” Sid clutches Flip, excited to work on his big idea.
Soon Sid is ready to show Mom. “Mom, Mom! I have a surprise for you! I reused Flip by making him into something else.”
“What a great idea, Sid. What is it?”
“Flip is now . . . your very own pen bot! Ta-da! Now you never have to worry about where your pens are. With a pen bot they will always be right here so you can find them!”
“Great thinking, Sid! Where did you come up with that idea?”
“Well, Mom, like you said, most of our trash goes into a landfill, and that’s bad for the environment. But there are other things we can do with our trash. We can recycle it and reuse it. That way you take something old and make it new, like when you take a robot and make . . . a pen bot!”