Celebrate Earth Day with these Fun Math Problems

Earth day 3Welcome to the Ascend Math Blog. This is the third year we’ve had the privilege of sharing the best Earth Day math problems sent to us by teachers and students.

Please use these math problems to help your students better understand recycling and reuse.

  1. Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away! Only around 27% of plastic bottles are recycled. How many bottles are recycled an hour? How many more would be recycled if the percentage rose to 30%
  2. It takes 100 to 400 years for plastics to break down in a landfill.  If you buried a plastic bottle today what is the soonest date that it would be broken down?
  3. Five plastic bottles recycled provides enough fiber to create one square feet of carpet. If the carpet in your classroom is 50 square feet how many plastic bottles would need to be recycled to make it.
  4. In 1997, the U.S. recycled 13 million cars, which conserved 32.5 billion pounds of iron ore, 18.2 billion pounds of coal and 1.5 billion pounds of limestone. If in 2016 we recycle 18 million cars how much iron ore will be conserved?  How much coal will be conserved?
  5. In the U.S. approximately 3,000 pounds of food goes to waste each second. How many pounds will go to waste in one minute?
  6. The National Recycling Coalition reports that recycling has created 1.1 million jobs and $37 billion in annual payroll.  If we increased our recycling by 10% how many additional new jobs might be created.
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