As you know, I asked each family to save all the junk mail for one week, and then bring it into the classroom. We ended up with a full bin - between the early holiday mailers and all of the political mail, our mailboxes must have been stuffed every day!
After talking about all the resources used in creating and mailing (trees for the paper, the environmental cost of planes and trucks delivering the (mostly) unwanted stuff, etc.), we decided to find out just how much waste there was.
Using two postal scales we started weighing. Children tried to come up with the exact amount of mail to weigh one pound, and then added a tally to the board for each one. We came up with approximately 14 pounds, which averaged (broadly) to about 2 pounds per family per week. Today, we will continue this project to determine how much junk mail ON AVERAGE gets mailed to families over a year's time.
Then, shredding! This was the best part.
Now we have bags and bags of shredded paper. It is quite beautiful. For a not-too-distant project, we will recycle this paper into gorgeous paper bowls.