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Though recycling has existed throughout history and has always been practised, it is now a crucial part of life. Recycled paper can acually be traced back to 9th century Japan. The Japanese people and culture started recycling paper soon after they learned how to make it. Ancient people have also recycled and reused almost everything they had because of its scarcity. But even though the concept of recycling has existed for that long, it has become popular just recently. Due to the issues and troubles facing our planet and affecting our environment nowadays, more and more people have been finding solutions in recycling and advocating for it. Some communities even have been collectively trying to recycle their waste to save the environment. So let’s explore exactly what recycling is, the importance of recycling in saving our environment, and what we can do to help.

Recycling for Kids
Recycling for Kids

What is Recycling?

    Recycling is the process of recovering waste material and processing and converting it into new reusable products and objects. When waste and garbage get collected from all sorts of places, they usually end up getting burned in waste incinerators or buried in landfills. Recycling, however, allows the waste to go through a detailed process to reprocess it for reuse. This is done to save energy, reduce all kinds of pollution like air, paper, and plastic, and use materials that people throw away but could actually be extremely useful.

    The word recycle itself is made up of the prefix re-, which means again, and the word cycle. This means to give something another cycle after its original cycle has already ended. So in that sense, recycling gives purpose to a thing people would have otherwise thought useless. That’s why recycling is important, and it’s equally important to understand the vital role recycling plays in our lives.

Why is Recycling important?

    Recycling is important for various reasons: it has some positive effects and benefits on our environment and communities; it also helps prevent some of the threats facing our planet.

    There are a lot of issues facing our environment and planet right now that we need to solve. Issues like plastic pollution, air pollution, deforestation, and global warming have been harming our Earth. Let’s take a look at the issues facing our environment so we can see how recycling helps us with them.

Plastic Pollution

    Plastic is one of the most pressing problems we’ve been struggling with over the past years. Plastic usage started back in the 1900s, but there has been an increase in its production lately. By 2018, plastic production was about 359 million metric tonnes per year after it has been about 1.5 million metric tonnes in 1950. More alarming, plastic is being used for more than just the essentials and there’s an increase in single-use plastic products. In the production process of plastics, additives have been added to make them more durable and less brittle. It’s estimated that plastic lasts in the environment for about 500 years or even more.

    When people improperly get rid of and mindlessly throw away plastic waste, it gets scattered all over the land and the seas. And because plastic is so difficult to decompose and break down in the environment, it becomes harmful. Animals either get stuck in it, which endangers and possibly injures the animals, or mistake it for food and eat it. This can cause malnourishment, starvation, illness, and death.

    Due to environmental conditions as well, plastic breaks down into microplastics and plastic particles that get carried away by the wind and seas. In water, fish eat the microplastics and plastic particles they find. In the open air, we inhale these plastic particles with every breath we take. This sadly endangers us as it pollutes our organic system and can cause serious diseases.

    Now, do you see why recycling is important? Because when we properly dispose of plastic and it gets recycled, there will be no harm, either to us, the animals, or our planet.

Air Pollution

    Waste incinerators are places where waste gets burned. And as we all know, there’s no fire without smoke. The burning leads to the release of toxic fumes and smoke from the incinerators into the air. This affects the air quality that we breathe and pollutes our air with toxins. The air even gets double polluted when the waste being burned includes plastics; since plastics are derived from crude oils which release carbons when burnt, this harms our atmosphere. The air pollution caused by this can lead up to many harmful things. We wouldn’t be able to breathe properly because of the smoke and the fumes; it badly affects our health and can lead to heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases.

    That’s why we need to increase our recycling; one of its alternatives is just burning the waste which has a lot of harmful effects on us and our atmosphere. In England alone, around 60% of the waste burnt in the incinerators can actually be recycled. So let’s try to think of a long-term solution and start investing in our health and planet.

Paper Production and Deforestation

    The paper production and manufacturing process is also one of the dangers our environment faces. From beginning to end, the process starts with the cutting down of a tree and ends with emitting carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Even paper as small as receipts are greatly harmful to the environment: they are made with 10 million trees and use one billion gallons of water and 250 million gallons of oil. Paper production also uses about 40% of the world’s cut timber. More troublesome than this, more than 30 million acres of trees are cut on a yearly basis. The number of trees we kill just for paper is monumental and leads to deforestation.

  Deforestation is the removal and clearance of the forests on the land. It leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Naturally, trees and forests hold carbon dioxide in their wood and leaves. When trees are cut down, the gas escapes into the atmosphere. About 12% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are because of deforestation.

  As if this isn’t enough, deforestation affects the animals and the indigenous people of the land. They once depended on the forest land to survive and make a living, but when there’s no more forest? To them, it’s almost as if there’s no more life.

 Recycling paper, however, helps prevent almost all of this from happening. Instead of cutting down more trees (in turn, emitting greenhouse gases and endangering human and animal life), we’d be saving tree land as we wouldn’t need to cut them down anymore. Recycling one tonne of paper saves up to 17 trees and 4100 kilowatts per hour of electricity.

  So to save ourselves before we destroy all that’s around us, it’s time to start recycling paper to avoid the currently everlasting fight against deforestation.

Landfills and Global Warming

    One way of waste management is to take the waste and bury it in landfill sites. The way it works is that waste is collected and taken to a landfill site, where it would either be piled up on the ground or buried in a hole dug in the land. This can cause a lot of problems, like pollution, for the environment. Waste usually consists of organic waste, plastics, wood, and electronics. Many materials that are in the waste contain toxins that harm the land. Electronic waste actually includes hazardous materials like lead, mercury, acids, and solvents; all of the substances can and do infect the soil and the underground water.

    As for organic waste, when it gets buried underground, it can no longer interact with the oxygen in the air, which doesn’t allow it to break down as fast as it usually does when out in the open. After a while, the waste starts producing methane. If methane gas builds up in the same spot, it can be a threat as it’s flammable. Methane is also a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide, which increases global warming.

    According to the United Nations, global warming is a long-term shift in temperatures and weather patterns. Since the 1800s, the shift is occurring due to human activities rather than natural ones. Global warming is mainly caused by greenhouse gases, gases that trap the heat in the atmosphere. This threatens our environment and planet for multiple reasons. The increasing temperature all over the globe affects both of our poles, the North and the South; ice at the poles starts melting, endangering animals and species living there. When ice melts, it adds more water to the oceans; hence, sea levels are gradually rising, and lands are gradually receding. It all disrupts all kinds of creatures, ranging from sea species to land animals. So we need to do our duty and protect them.

    Though it sounds scary, it’s not an impossible scenario. All we need to do is reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. When we reduce the waste by reusing our products or recycling them, the methane gas and toxins produced in landfill sites can be easily managed when they’re not in huge quantities.

    The importance of recycling isn’t just limited to preventing threats from occurring; its importance also lies in saving the energy of our planet and helping small communities and individuals. So let’s take a look at how we benefit from recycling and how it helps our planet.

Energy Saving

    It takes a lot of energy and tonnes of resources to manufacture a product from scratch. For example, as stated before, making receipts requires 10 million trees, one-billion gallons of water, and 250 million gallons of oil. The paper production industry on its own uses about 4% of the world’s energy. So it takes valuable energy and resources to make products. On the other hand, making the same product from recycled materials is much easier: the material got processed and refined once before so making the product will be a simpler process and will save energy and resources. Seventeen trees are saved when a tonne of paper is recycled; recycling aluminium can use only 5% of the energy used to make the original product and reduces the water and air pollution and energy use by 95%; to recycle one glass bottle is to save energy that lights a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. So recycling helps us conserve the energy of our planet and our natural resources.

Job Opportunities

   When we become more aware and conscious of our environment and decide to recycle, investors would then encourage and help recycling plants. The recycling industry then would grow and, in turn, help the communities by providing employment options. In Northern Ireland, over 80% of what’s collected from the curbside boxes is recycled locally which creates more job opportunities for people living there. Like any other establishment or business, this boosts the economy, especially on a local level, and helps people find more jobs.

    Now we know what threats our planet is facing due to improper waste management, threats like plastic pollution, air pollution, deforestation, global warming, and much more. And though recycling isn’t the only solution, it at least allows people to be more understanding and conscious of their actions and how they can affect our planet. So now we know that what we need to do is to reduce our consumption, reuse our products, and recycle our waste. But how is the waste recycled? And what waste can be recycled? Let’s find out.

Recyclables and the Recycling Process

    Recyclables is the term used to describe the materials that can be recycled. Almost everything we know of can be recycled or even reused. The materials are both non-organic and organic waste; they include glass, paper (like cardboard, newspapers, etc.), plastics, metal, fabrics, electronics, and food.

    The process of recycling starts really simple: recyclable waste needs to be collected. There are different methods of collecting the recyclables and four collection programs: curbside collection, drop-off centres, and buy-back centres.

    Curbside collection is where recyclable plants would have systems in place to go and pick up people’s recyclable waste at the curbside. The waste could be divided into different sections for the different recyclable materials.

    In the case curbside collection isn’t wanted, an alternative for this collection method is drop-off centres. As the name implies, drop-off centres are centres where people drop off their recyclable waste.

    Buy-back centres are almost the same drop-off centres; the only difference is that buy-back centres are willing to buy the recyclable waste and pay a fee for it (drop-off centres mostly don’t pay any money for the recyclable materials).

    After the collection process comes the sortation process. If the recyclables aren’t already sorted before getting collected, then they get sorted in the recyclable plants manually and automatically.

    A good example of the recycling sorting process can be seen in Bryson Recycling, a recycling factory in Northern Ireland. They use wheelie boxes for the curbside collection method to collect the recyclable waste. The wheelie box is divided into different sections for different recyclables. At the curb, workers from Bryson Recycling further sort the waste by separating glass from paper and so on. This makes it easier for when they get back to the factory as almost no more sorting is needed.

    Only plastics and metal need additional sorting to separate them. They’re sorted automatically: they’re added to a conveyor belt and at the top of it there’s a magnet that attracts all the metals and cans. Plastics are then sorted by the optical sorting method: a ray of light hits the waste (so it helps identify the plastics), then a jet of air separates it into a different section in the conveyor.

    After the recyclables get sorted, they then start the recycling process. It’s a complex process that differs from each material to the next; here’s a general overview of how each material gets recycled and important information about each material’s recycling.

How to Recycle for Kids
How to Recycle

Glass Recycling

    Glass is a material that’s 100% recyclable; it can be recycled repeatedly without losing its quality or purity. Not all glass products can be recycled as they use a different manufacturing process; if they get recycled with normal glass, they ruin the recycled glass and recycling process for that batch. The glass products that cannot be recycled include windows, mirrors, light bulbs, Pyrex, crystal, eyeglasses, and fluorescent lighting tubes.

    To recycle glass, it should be free of all contaminants like metal or plastic lids. There’s a pre-treatment process where a jet of air is used to blow away paper or plastic; then a magnet is used to remove all the metal objects. There are different colours of glass products; if reprocessed together, they wouldn’t meet the standards for glass colouring. So glass waste, after the pre-treatment process, gets separated into different glass colours and washed to remove any impurities. The glass waste then gets broken up into small glass pieces that are called cullet. They then get crushed and mixed with raw material like sand or soda ash. They are melted together in a furnace at 1000 degrees Fahrenheit; then they are moulded into different glass products of different colours.

Paper Recycling

    After going to the recycling plant, the paper gets separated into different types and grades. When it’s time for recycling, the paper gets added to soapy water to wash away all the residue from the original use, residue like ink, staples, plastic films, and glue. The paper is then put into a large holder filled with water; it gets mixed with the water to create a slurry. To make different paper products (like cardboard, toilet paper, office paper, and newspaper), different materials are added to the slurry. The final step is the slurry, using rollers, is spread into large thin sheets, left to dry, and gets rolled up to be cut off later and made into different products.

Plastic Recycling

    After the plastic waste gets separated from other materials, it needs to be divided into different types of plastic. A method used to separate plastics based on density is called the sink-float: plastic products are put in water where high-density plastic would sink and low-density plastic would float. Plastic waste then is washed to remove all kinds of contaminants and residues as they can ruin the recycled plastic. After that, the plastic is put in shredders and grinding machines to shred it into smaller flakes and tiny pieces. The final stage is where plastic is melted and forced through an extruder to form plastic pellets. The pellets then go through various methods to make different plastic products.

Metal Recycling

    Metal waste, like plastic waste, is separated into different kinds of metal so it can be recycled. After the separation, the metal is shredded into small pieces; this allows the metal to take less time when melted. The smaller pieces are added to a furnace under a high temperature to be melted; the molten metal then goes through an electrolysis system to remove all the contaminants and impurities. Then it is shaped into ingots to be moulded and manipulated later on into different shapes and forms.

Fabrics Recycling

    Clothes are first checked to see if they can be reused. If the clothes are in good shape, they’re sent to charities for further use. Afterwards, natural fabrics get pulled or shredded into fibres. The fibre then goes through a process where it is spun once then twice to create yarn, to be used later for knitting or sewing to make new clothes. Some fibres are compressed to make fillings for products like mattresses.

    Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, have a bit of a different process. The zippers and buttons are removed; the fabric is then shredded into smaller pieces. The shredded fabric gets moulded into pellets to be melted, later to be used to make fibres that make the clothes we know and love today.

Organic and Food Recycling

    Before everything, we should know that not all organic waste can be recycled and that waste that cannot be recycled includes milk and oils. Now take a look at the recycling process.

    Recycling organic waste turns it into soil compost and fertiliser. When organic waste is buried in landfills, it’s removed from air and oxygen; so it emits greenhouse gases like methane and CO2 as mentioned previously. So one way of recycling and composting organic waste is by using the gas emissions to get energy. This way is called Anaerobic Digestion. In this method, organic waste is placed in enclosed tanks that cut off all the oxygen. Bacteria and microorganisms then digest the waste and turn it into compost that gets used as fertilisers for the soil. Greenhouse gas emissions like methane are produced during the process; they get used as renewable energy to generate electricity for example.

    Another method for recycling and composting organic waste is called In-Vessel Composting (IVC). The waste is screened to remove contaminants like metal and plastic. The waste is then shredded and placed in a closed vessel where oxygen, temperature, and moisture are carefully controlled to ensure the waste gets composted in an ideal environment. The waste starts to decompose naturally due to microorganisms breaking it down: this generates heat that raises the temperature to 60-70 degrees Celsius. It lasts from two to four weeks. Then the composted waste is placed in long rows, called windrows, to continue the recycling process; this lasts about ten to fourteen weeks with regular turning of the compost now and then. Some final tests are needed to make sure the quality is good, and the material is safe to be used as fertilisers.

    As all the recyclable materials are now finally recycled and ready for reuse, they get distributed to companies and businesses that need them for their products or work.

What Can We Do for Recycling?

    After all is said and done, and now that we know the importance of recycling and the threats if we don’t recycle, we need to know exactly what we can do as individuals to help save our planet.

Why is recycling important for kids?
Why is recycling important for kids?

    The first thing we need to be mindful of is to reduce the products we buy and use. Oftentimes we’ll buy the products even though we don’t need them, maybe because of a discount offer. And since the more products we have, the more waste we produce, it’s always better to buy necessary products and not exceed our needs. When we do buy products, we need to keep in mind that the products are made of recyclable materials and can be recycled again.

    We need to reduce our waste as well. We can do so by saving leftover food and eating it instead of throwing it away, or we can share it either with people we love and also our neighbours. This is to ensure the food isn’t wasted. Another way to reduce our waste is also by reusing plastic bags instead of throwing them away. Most shops baggage our products into plastic bags; so we can keep a drawer in our cabinets where we save plastic bags to reuse them as needed. Plastic bags aren’t the only products that can be reused; newspapers can be reused as a wrap for fragile products when we’re moving. Keep another drawer in your cabinets for some newspapers that you can use when needed.

    If you have some old clothes you don’t want anymore, you can donate them to charities or give them away to people you know who need them. You can also get creative with your old clothes and turn them into different designs; jeans can be turned into bags, large t-shirts can be made into dresses, skirts can be made into blouses, and so much more. Just grab your sketch, draw the design, and start getting creative with the old material you have. If clothes cannot be salvaged at all, they can be cut into rectangles and used as cleaning rags. So there’s more than just one solution for each problem.

    Glass products like jars and bottles can be reused at home as well. Instead of buying glass jars to store some food in the fridge or freezer, you can just thoroughly wash a jar that you have and use it. Jars can also be used to store your spices instead of keeping them in the plastic packaging they come in. If you fancy some homemade juice or just some cold water, you can use the glass bottles to store them in the fridge.

    Waste, despite this, is inevitable, so we need to prepare for it as well. We can do a little research to find our local recycling plants. We can arrange curbside collection, or we can drop off the recyclable materials that we’ve gathered. It’s important to prepare the materials for recycling and so it’s better to separate them into different boxes; remember not to baggage them in bags as this can slow down the recycling process. For plastic, aluminium, and any food and drink container, it’s important to rinse out the food and drink residue and clean them; this helps quicken the recycling process.

    If recycling at home is something you might like, some recycling you can do is paper recycling and organic waste compost.

    For paper, you need paper scraps, an old blender, a tub, a framed screen, towels or old bedsheets, a sponge, and some water. Cut the paper scraps into small squares then put some paper in the blender alongside some water. Keep adding paper and water till the paper is gone and it turns into a slurry. Pour the slurry into a tub and fill it with water; the amount of water depends on the thickness you want for your paper – more water and less slurry mean thin paper; more slurry and less water mean thick paper. Use the framed screen to mould your paper: submerge the framed screen in the tub at an angle and get it out. Give it a little shake, let the waters drip, then put it on a towel or any old bedsheet. Use the sponge to press the paper into the towel then remove the frame. Hang the towel to dry and repeat the process. If you want to give your paper some colour, you can add some food colouring to the tub. Now that you have your recycled pieces of paper, you can get creative with the products you want to turn the paper into.

    If you’re into gardening, you can compost your food waste. Just dig a small surface-level hole in the ground and add your organic waste to it. Cover it with soil, especially soil that has the nutrients it needs to compost; make sure not to smother it with soil so as not to cut out the oxygen, as it needs oxygen to decompose properly. Give it a little stir and turn it on a regular basis. It takes from about one to two months to compost. After it turns into compost, spread it into areas in your garden that need some fertilising and compost to grow your plants normally.

    We can do more to help with recycling by educating our friends, relatives, and neighbours. Individual effort is appreciated, but to make more than a little difference, the effort needs to be collective. So we can speak with our friends and acquaintances to educate them on recycling and its benefits. At schools, we can speak with those in charge and help arrange activities that would encourage students and teachers alike to recycle. In our communities and neighbourhoods, we can dedicate one day monthly to spread the word and raise awareness of recycling and its importance.

    Recycling teaches us compassion, patience, empathy, and respect; we learn to be mindful and conscious of our planet and the environment around us. We understand we’re not the only living beings on Earth and so we need to be thoughtful about our actions and their consequences. We set a great example for kids when we respect our planet like that and make a conscious effort to help it remain beautiful and keep it healthy for future generations. That’s why we need to always keep in mind that we must respect the planet that provides us with the sustenance we need and that it’s a two-way relationship. Just like our planet provides for us, we need to keep our planet healthy, look out for it, and always make it a better place.

Recycling is a learning experience for the future:

There is an increasing awareness about environmental sustainability among consumers and businesses. And this awareness is also growing when it comes to paper and printing. That’s why we thought that a closer look at the Recycling Paper process might be interesting to our kids to be environmentally conscious and try to make more green choices in the future.

What is Recycling Paper, and why is it important?

Maybe that’s the first question that kids will ask when they are faced with this topic. That is before they even bring themselves to search into the more detailed information related to how Recycling Paper is done.

Teaching children to care for the environment is a learning experience that is an important part of growing up. It gives them several skills in respect of empathy, patience, responsibility, and teaches them about consequences.

But it also teaches them valuable lessons about sustainability and how we want to leave the world for future generations. Showing children how to recycle properly is like passing the baton to them for a cleaner and brighter future.

 Waste is usually divided into several different categories to be sorted out for the recycling phase; paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. Every single type goes through a different recycling process to bring it back into a new product that we can use again.

Throwing plastic, cans, and paper in the recycling bin is more than just sorting the recyclables. It’s teaching young people about saving money by showing them how they can avoid waste.

With can and bottle recycling, they learn about the benefits of cashing in the household recycling, as well as discovering that taking their recyclables to the Scouts helps to fund the groups. This learned appreciation for the value of money is a lifelong skill best learned young.

Recyclables can be made into crafts, jewelers, paint pots, and papier-Mache. With that in mind, kids also learn that when they recycle newspapers, the paper will turn back into newspapers, and bottles into other bottles. When young people know that the things, they use can become other useful things, it can give them a better incentive to want to recycle.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the life cycle of things?

Once kids learn to Recycling Paper at home, they can spread the word and make sure people are sorting recyclables at school, at their sports clubs, and with their friends. A sustainable future depends on what we do today, and good habits can become second nature.

Recycling paper
Recycling paper

Our kids must be involved by:

•      Setting recycling chores

•      They can be in charge of bringing reusable shopping bags to stores

•      They can sort the recycling things

•      Decorate bins in different colors for each recycling category

•      have arts and craft time with recycled materials

•      They can read books about recycling that are appropriate for their age

Finally, learning by example is one of the most important ways to discover. When parents, teachers, and leaders show good habits to children, they pick them up and imitate them. Showing young people how important it is to look after the environment.

Recycling by doing it yourself is the key to a sustainable future. This will create kids that have a healthy attitude towards our world. The skills kids learn by Recycling Paper will create a sustainable world for them to live in.

They’ll have a greater appreciation for the way things work, and a better understanding of our precious ecosystem. Recycling is not a new topic; it has an old history.

 Ancient Recycling

The first recorded use of recycled paper was in the 9th century in Japan. Ancient Japanese people began recycling paper almost as soon as they learned how to produce it. Recycling became part of paper production and consumption.

Japanese culture generally treats Recycling Paper as being more precious than new and recycled paper was often used in paintings and poetry. In the 12th century, a case was recorded of an emperor’s wife: after the emperor died, she recycled all the poems and letters she received from him and wrote a sutra on the recycled paper to wish peace upon his soul.

US Recycling Start

Finally, in 1690, recycling reached the New World. The Rittenhouse Mill in Philadelphia opened and began Recycling Paper linen and cotton rags. The paper produced from these materials was sold to printers to be used in Bibles and newspapers.

World War II

World War II saw a massive, universal collection campaign for tin, rubber, steel, paper, and more to be recycled. More than 400,000 volunteers put in the effort and tens of thousands of tons of material were recycled in order to save money for the war efforts.

That was a national campaign. Posters and newsreels detailing the materials needed (and why) are abounding. All Americans were on board, and most of them were excited to help aid the troops by conserving and recycling.

The 1960s

The first curbside collections of yard waste, metals, and paper start popping up around the county.

The 1970s

Greater emphasis on green movements through government-backed initiatives generates public awareness of conservation efforts. The concept of the flower child emerges. Earth Day is celebrated for the first time on April 22, 1970.

The ‘chasing arrows’ recycling symbol is created by a Southern California architecture student. The first curbside recycling bin “The Tree Saver” is used in Missouri for the collection of paper in 1974.

In 1976, Massachusetts secures the first-ever EPA recycling grants. By the end of the decade, there were approximately 220 programs for recycling.

Did you know recycling has always been a part of the process of making paper? Paper, as we know it today. Paper is made from trees. Mostly, trees that are grown on working forests and from which we recovered paper.

When you Recycling Paper , paper mills use it to make new newspapers, notebooks paper, paper grocery bags, corrugated boxes, envelopes, magazines, cartons, and other paper products.

What are the things we recycle most?

Paper and newspapers. It’s easy to forget that trees are chopped down to make paper and that’s why it’s important that we recycle it. Here are some facts about Recycling Paper:

For each ton of paper that is recycled, around 17 trees are saved. A recycled newspaper is made into a new newspaper within seven days. All of our newspapers are made from 100% recycled paper. Most toilet paper is made from recycled paper

Over 70% less air pollution is created by making new paper from Recycling Paper (rather than making it from raw materials)

Recycling Facts for Kids:

As kids, you might think that grown-ups get to make all of the decisions, but you have a very important job to do. You have to protect the planet. So, it’s a safe and healthy place to live in. Not only for yourself but for future generations too.

There are around 7 billion people living on earth, and as you can imagine, that means a lot of resources like water, wood, energy, and other materials get used. A lot of waste is produced from everything, trash is thrown away, and the cars we drive pollute the atmosphere.

All of this has led to global warming, which is a rise in the earth’s temperature. Global warming is causing ice to melt in the Polar Regions which makes sea levels rise. So, more places are at risk of being flooded.

It also causes extreme weather conditions, like hurricanes and droughts. That can damage the crops that are used to produce the food we eat. Global warming is also driving animals to flee from their natural habitats and that causes some species to become endangered.

To protect the planet, we need to act quickly, and it all starts with you. One of the simplest ways that you can take care of the planet and protect it for future kids is by recycling.

The Advantages of Recycling Paper:

Before throwing that piece of paper in the trash, consider how many trees you could save by starting a recycling program in your office or school. Even recycling newspapers and paper products at home can generate neighborhood interest and help save the earth. The advantages of recycling paper go far beyond saving trees and can start with a single piece of paper.

Benefits

Recycling paper has several benefits both for humans and the earth. Using Recycling Paper to make new paper reduces the number of trees that are cut down, conserving natural resources. In some instances, recycling services are cheaper than trash-disposal services.

Today, we’re going to tell you how paper is recycled and explain how to make homemade recycled paper. It’s a process that can be useful for special projects if you have a moment to learn it. I think you will be satisfied with something you made by yourself.

We use a lot of paper every day. Cereal boxes, coloring books, storybooks to puzzles, your homework, and even toilet paper are made of paper. Ask your kids Can you name something that is made of paper? They will find a lot.

Reuse paper! Use old newspapers to wrap breakable items. Try making fun and useful crafts from egg cartons and toilet paper rolls! The wasted paper goes through different steps in the process of recycling to come back to paper again!

The start of the Recycling Paper process requires the paper to be separated into types and grades. The paper is then washed to remove any film, glue, ink, and other contaminants using soapy water. Once washed the paper is then transferred to a large container, where it is mixed with water to create a pulp.

What is the use of recycling paper?

Quilling paper art

Using recycled paper to make new paper reduces the number of trees that are cut down, conserving natural resources. In some instances, recycling services are cheaper than trash-disposal services.

Some good ideas for recycling paper for kids

There is no home without paper, whether it is newsprint, magazines, old books, children’s drawing paper, etc. We all have papers everywhere in the house, especially in the presence of young children.

That may cause disorganization in the house sometimes and the garbage may be filled with used papers or papers of newspapers and magazines that were torn by children and became of no importance from your point of view.

But can you imagine the possibility of reusing paper again to make a decoration in your home or a piece of art or to make something that has another use and is made from the remnants of paper?

Paper is one of the easiest materials used in Recycling Paper and gives a great result when adapting and using it. So, continue reading the article with me to learn how to recycle paper in the following lines.

How do you make recycling paper easy for kids? Or What are the steps that kids should follow to recycle?

Step 1: Ask your kids to cut scraps of paper into lots of tiny pieces or help them shred it in a mechanical paper shredder.

 Step.2: Let your kids put the paper in a bowl and cover it with water. Soak it for 2 hours or overnight.

Step 3: Have your kids add the soaked paper to the blender. Finally, the mixture turns into a soft mixture, known as slurry or pulp.

Step 4: Pulp checking and cleaning: To remove contamination from the pulp, the pulp is placed in screens with holes of different sizes and shapes to remove contaminants.

Step 5: Refining, decolorizing, and bleaching: In the refining stage, the pulp is hammered to make the paper fibers swell. Pulping methods also separate the fiber from each other to facilitate the production of a new paper from these fibers.

In the event, coloring is required, discoloring chemicals are added to the fibers to get rid of the dyes in the paper, we get Recycling Paper white.  As the water drains out completely, it then results in a renewed paper sheet. You can then cut this paper sheet into the desired shapes and sizes.

The resultant paper sheets are then trimmed, rolled, and sent to various business outlets or manufacturers that use paper to make their products. Newspaper printing, wrapping papers, and printing papers are a few examples of areas where recycled papers are used.

Recycling Paper

Conversation starters for this paper-making process.

Talk to your children about what they observed versus what they thought was going to happen. Go over the steps of this paper-making process and see if they have any further questions or thoughts.

And last, but not least, have them use the paper that they created in this activity to write someone a letter or draw a picture on! In the same way, the children can make a recycled notebook, this is the perfect gift for someone going back to school or for someone who journals often.

It’s a really personal gift since it is handcrafted and comes with a lot of love. It’s remarkable to be able to create something as beautiful as this from recycled paper and it would make a lovely gift.

How do you Recycling Paper at school?

When paper recycling, there are a lot of ideas you can do to reuse paper instead of throwing it away. Here are some ideas: We can use colorful magazines and catalogs to make Origami art as a form of paper recycling instead of buying new paper.

Printing: Use the paper to print coupons, shopping lists, and more. Make Origami art with your friends at school: You can use wrapping paper, greeting cards, etc. for all kinds of papers to make Origami ships.

Some toys like kid-friendly paper pistols:

This paper pistol shoots paper bullets – how fun! This is the perfect fun project to do with kids and you can teach them about the importance of Recycling Paper at the same time. This is also a great way to use up some paper that you’d otherwise just throw away. Yay! for making things out of nothing.

Now they can also use old paper to make different shapes of animals using Origami art by following clear steps. They can make a face of a cat, a dog, a bear, and many different shapes as shown in the following pictures.

Gift Wrapping: Reuse comics or even plain brown wrapping paper for gift wrapping. Clean windows: Newspaper with vinegar is one of the best ways to get shiny windows. Garden Mulch: Tear up newspaper into strips, and lay a layer around your plants to keep the soil moist and deter weeds.

Recycling Paper making paper dolls: You can cut up hard cards (like the back of greeting cards) to make simple paper dolls. Gift Basket Filling: Tear up colored tissue paper and use it as filler in gift baskets. Help ripen fruit: Put unripe fruit in a paper bag or wrap it in the newspaper, to help it ripen more quickly.

How to make a basket of paper?

  You can make the baskets using strips of magazine paper or newspaper in different patterns, but this may require basket weaving skills.

How to make a wall clock out of paper:

Recycling Paper: by Fold the magazine paper in reverse to give this shape, then fix the end of each paper with another paper until a circular shape is formed, and fix the end of the circle with its beginning well, and using clock hands, fix it from the front and back, then make a holder from the back for easy fixation on the wall.

Or you can roll magazine paper into a thin cylindrical shape, and attach them to the back of a watch case, to give a distinctive look to your home decor.

How to make a paper vase: we can use many ways to make a vase using recycled paper by Origami 3d art, roll papers method, or quelling art. All of that gives us a very beautiful vase in a very easy way.

  Fold the magazine paper and roll each piece of paper into a circle. Make several small circles and hold them together with a wax gun to make the base of the vase. Then, pin the circles to the base to make the body of the vase. Place the circles next to each other in circular rows, until you reach the desired length of the vase.

How to make a paper pen holder?

3D origami (Recycle paper)
3D origami (Recycle paper)

Make a pen holder for your desk, by rolling cylindrical cardboard of different lengths, fixing it around a sturdy base, and then decorating it from the outside with flowers that are made of paper or other materials.

How to make paper entries?

  The paper helps you to make different flowers and combine newspaper and colored paper to make beautiful flowers in different shapes.

How to make paper earrings?

We can also teach children the possibility of making some of their own jewelry. Earrings can be made using thick magazine paper, by folding and rolling it to give a circular shape. Then, fix the metal part of the earrings with it, and it can also be colored to get their favorite color.

And also, you can add so many details to these paper hoop earrings. The centers of these earrings can be made entirely from paper beads so the earrings may look heavy, but they’re made of paper so they wouldn’t be too heavy. You could get as creative as you want with these types of earrings.

How to make a photo frame out of paper?

Another way to teach children how to reuse newspaper and magazine papers in an artistic way is to make different frames for their pictures in an easy and simple way. Make picture frames by pinning cylindrical-rolled magazine sheets to the sides of the frame, while adding some decorative roses to the frame.

Jewelry

 Chandelier Necklace: These necklaces are made from entirely recycled paper. They are so unique and would make a perfect gift. The gifted person can feel good and the kids would love how unique this gift truly is. Better yet, why not try and encourage all kids to make paper beads and create their unique pieces of jewelry?

Also, children can make paper beads:

These different colored paper beads come together to create a beautiful necklace. This would make a great accessory because it’s so unique and the different colors look magnificent together. They could either buy this as a gift or attempt to recreate it by using different colored paper and quilling art.

The children can learn to make a Paper bead necklace: This gorgeous necklace has over one strand of recycled paper beads. This unique necklace is so gorgeous and would definitely make a striking conversation piece at that next cocktail party. You could either leave the beads in that natural paper state or paint them to create interesting cascades of color.

Bead spirals: These paper bead spirals look gorgeous on this bracelet. This is such an interesting piece of jewelry and the fact that it’s made from recycled paper is astonishing. This would make the perfect gift or a sweet gift for your friends whenever you feel like you want to treat your friend or your mum to something awesome.

So, before you throw the paper in the trash, teach children how to think about using this paper with different ideas to recycle and use it for other useful things.

Think carefully about what you can make of paper, and these ideas are sure to help children a lot. Giving a lot of ideas helps their imagination to imagine, create what they love, and learn how to combine paper with other materials to make special things.

Finally, there are some tips that you should remember about reusing things:

This means extending the life of something by finding a way to use it again without buying something completely new. Here are some examples of how you can reuse more:

  1. Remind your parents to take their own shopping bags when you go to the supermarket rather than getting new ones each time you go.
  2. Ask your mum and dad if you can give your old toys and books to charity or to someone in the family or a friend.
  3. Keep jars or plastic containers for storing your things. You can even decorate them and keep them in your bedroom.
  4. Learn how to make different gifts for your friends or even your family from recycled paper instead of throwing them away using paper art, such as Origami and quilling art.

Before we finish this article, let’s get acquainted with some information about the art of Origami and its importance in Japanese culture.

Why is Origami so important for The Japanese culture? Or Why Do They Do Origami?

Origami has been one of the most recreational arts of Japanese culture for centuries. They made it a part of their culture to foster creativity among youngsters. Origami is served as an elegant yet amusing activity of Japanese done during their leisure times.

What is so special about Origami?

At its essence, Origami is the traditional Japanese game of folding elaborately designed paper into a myriad of shapes, typically plants, animals, and other living things. Part of what makes Origami unique is the fact that it simply requires a piece of paper and creative imagination.

Why is Origami good for the brain?

Origami helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and mental concentration. The use of the hands directly stimulates areas of the brain. … Impulses are sent to the brain activating both left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Tactile, motor and visual areas of the brain are activated and brought into use. The art of paper folding is often associated with Japanese culture. It symbolizes long life, happiness, good luck, and peace.

In Japan, the art of Origami had begun after Buddhist monks brought paper from China in the sixth century. They used to make noshi (little good luck paper charms) attaching them with a gift as a sign of good luck and fortune. It was fully developed during the Edo Period (1603-1868).

Explore the previous examples and facts, and you will find yourself getting the necessary knowledge and information to fully grasp the concept of recycling paper. So, keep on visiting our Learning Mole to get more knowledge and information about all different kinds of stuff.

Recycling For Kids

It’s ‘Our World’ we all need to take care of it!

paper recycling

Did you know?

It’s ‘Our World’ we all need to take care of it!
Did you know?
The average household in the UK creates over a ton of waste each year, which is about the weight of a small car. ALSO,

The average person in the UK throws away their own body weight in rubbish every 7 weeks!
Other countries recycle a lot more than we do. Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Germany recycle around 60% of their waste, compared with our rate of around 45%.

In the U.S., at least 10 million tons of newspapers are put into the trash each year. Around 75,000 trees are required just to produce one edition of the Sunday New York Times.
Facts like these highlight the need for more people to make use of the recycling center instead of putting everything into the trash bin.

Recycling facts for kids

TOP 10 ITEMS THAT SHOULD ALWAYS BE RECYCLED

1. Newspapers
Newspapers are one of the easiest materials to recycle. Doing so can help to save up to 60 percent of the energy required to make brand-new newsprint.

2. Mixed Paper
According to the EPA, the paper comprises a third of all municipal waste in the U.S. It is also one of the easiest materials to recycle. From old documents to junk mail and everything in between, make sure your waste paper ends up at the recycle center.

3. Glossy Magazines and Ads
Magazines can also be recycled, even the full color highly glossy variety. This applies to mailed coupon flyers and advertisements as well.

4. Cardboard
Sending one ton of cardboard to the recycling center can save over 9 cubic yards of landfill space and 24 percent of the energy required to make new cardboard.

5. Paperboard
The thin cardboard used for shoeboxes, product boxes, and similar containers is also recyclable. Be sure to flatten this as well in order to save space in the recycling bin.

6. Plastic Drink Bottles
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is used for water, soda, and juice bottles. In the U.S., about 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour. Recycling them helps the environment tremendously.

7. Plastic Product Bottles
Thicker plastic bottles used for shampoo, detergent, and similar items can also be recycled. These bottles should be rinsed clean, and their plastic tops removed and discarded.
8. Aluminum Cans
Aluminum retains its properties indefinitely, so it is an excellent candidate for recycling. Doing so requires 95 percent less energy than making brand-new cans.
It lowers the urgency for mining new aluminum, which in turn helps to preserve the environment.

9. Steel Cans
Steel (tin) cans are still used for many canned products including fruits, vegetables, soups, and coffee. They can also be recycled. Be sure to rinse them out before recycling them.

10. Glass Containers
Glass containers used in food and beverage packaging are 100 percent recyclable. They can be substituted for up to 95 percent of raw materials when new glass products are being made, making glass recycling highly friendly to the environment.

The more materials that can be sent to the recycling center, the better the environment can be. These 10 items should always be recycled from both your home and your business. When in doubt, check with your local municipality to verify how and where these items should be recycled.

Recycling is a learning experience for the future:
There is increasing awareness about environmental sustainability among consumers and businesses.

And this awareness is also growing when it comes to paper and printing. That’s why we thought that a closer look at the recycling process might be interesting to our kids to be environmentally conscious and try to make green choices in the future.

What is recycling, and why is it important?
Maybe that’s the first question kids will ask when they are faced with this topic before they bring themselves to the more detailed information related to how recycling is done.

Teaching children to care for the environment is a learning experience that is an influential part of growing up. It gives them skills in respect, empathy,

patience, responsibility, and teaches them about consequences. But it also teaches them valuable lessons about sustainability and how we want to leave the world for future generations.
Showing children how to recycle properly is like passing the baton to them for a cleaner and brighter future.

Waste is usually divided into different categories to be sorted out for the recycling phase; paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum, and every single type goes through a different recycling process to bring it back into a new product that we can use again.

Recyclables can be made into crafts, jewelers, paint pots, and papier-Mache. With that in mind, kids also learn that when they recycle newspapers, the paper will turn back into newspapers, and bottles into other bottles.
When young people know that the things, they use can become other useful things, it can give them a better incentive to want to recycle.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the cycle of things?
Once kids learn to recycle at home, they can spread the word and make sure people are sorting recyclables at school, at their sports clubs, and with their friends.
A sustainable future depends on what we do today, and good habits can become second nature.

Our kids must be involved by:
• Setting recycling chores
• They can be in charge of bringing reusable shopping bags to stores
• They can sort the recycling things
• Decorate bins in different colors for each recycling category
•  have arts and craft time with recycled materials

•  They can read books about recycling that are appropriate for their age
Finally, learning by example is one of the most important ways to discover. When parents, teachers, and leaders show good habits to children,
they pick them up and imitate them. Showing young people how important it is to look after the environment, and recycle by doing it yourself is the key to a sustainable future and creating kids with a healthy attitude about our world.

The skills kids learn by recycling will create a sustainable world for them to live in. They’ll have a greater appreciation for the way things work, and a better understanding of our precious ecosystem.
We mention that recycling is not a new topic, it has an old history.
Ancient Recycling
The first recorded use of recycled paper was in 9th century Japan. Ancient Japanese people began recycling paper almost as soon as they learned how to produce it and recycling became part of paper production and consumption.

Japanese culture generally treats recycled paper as being more precious than new and recycled paper was often used in paintings and poetry. In the 12th century,

a case was recorded of an emperor’s wife: after the emperor died, she recycled all the poems and letters she received from him and wrote a sutra on the recycled paper to wish peace upon his soul.


We can do more! Learning Mole has worked hard with Bryson recycling to create educational videos and resources that will help parents, schools, children, councils, in fact, the whole community to see the importance of recycling and hopefully encourage them to recycle more.

We hope you enjoy these resources and feel free to email us with more suggestions – by working together we really can make the world a better place!

Recycling for kids
Recycling for kids

Recycling for Kids Downloadable Resources

Sort it Out

Look at all the materials we throw into our bins. Lots can be recycled – can you sort out the items that can and can’t be recycled.

Rubbish Sort

Look at all the materials we throw into our bins. Lots can be recycled – can you sort out the items in the correct recycling bins?

Sorting Rubbish

Where does our rubbish go? Can you draw different recyclable items in the correct bins?

Why Recycle?

Recycling makes our world a better, cleaner and safer place. Can you draw pictures to show how recycling benefits our world.

Recycling at Home

Recycling starts at home 🙂 Think of all the different rooms in your house that may have recyclable items – how many can you find?

Recycling Poster

Encourage your friends, family and community to recycle more. Could you design a poster to help them?

Recycling Campaign

Encourage your friends, family and community to recycle more. Think of all the persuasive language, slogans and eye-catching designs you could create.

Recycling Data

Can you use the recycling data to create an informative graph or presentation? What advice could you give help schools recycle more?

Plastic Bottle Puppets

A great project to make use of all that lovely rubbish.

Musical Instruments

Rubbish can be really fun – can you recycle your rubbish into something completely new?

Ensuring that your children are passionate about the environment and the world around them is one of the most important lessons that you can teach your child. Understanding that there are plenty of components that control how to look after the environment, one of the most significant ways we deal with plastics, glass, and other materials is recycling. Having recycling facts for kids is a great way of engaging them with taking an interest in the planet and learning ways to protect the earth. Instilling these recycling facts for kids at an early age encourages children to grow up with a respect for the earth and a nature that is concerned for mankind.

Why is Recycling Important?

Recycling is immensely influential for the environment. All the waste that you and your household incur has to be thrown somewhere. It is usually separated into different categories. These are typically plastic, paper, glass, aluminum, food, and general waste. Making sure that recycling occurs is integral to sustainable development, as more to 60 percent of waste can be recycled and used again. This could see objects transformed with new purposes. Multiple processes see different types of materials recycled. All take different amounts of energy for recycling to occur, but all have immense benefits that help our planet.

There are plenty of robust materials that can be recycled and utilized again. For example, aluminum can be recycled in the form of cans. Aluminum is a common material that is used to house plenty of foods. This is why recycling is so important, as these cans can be reused to serve more homes with food.

Aluminum recycling can actually save enough energy to power a television for three hours, which is rather significant. Glass is another material that is easily recycled. Glass is usually separated from other waste because of its fragility. Despite being easily broken, it can also be very dangerous and can cut people if damaged, hence its separation. Glass manages to be a recyclable material and can be reused as bottles, among other things. Some fantastic recycling facts for kids.

Recycling facts for kids will also have to contain paper. Paper is something we use every day, in school and at home, and it has a multipurpose usage. There are different types and grades of paper, so every paper is treated as unique. It is incredibly important to recycle paper, as it produces 73% less air pollution when it is recycled and not made anew from raw materials. With multiple uses, from envelopes to writing pages, from wrapping paper to books, there are plenty of ways we can recycle our paper.

Every year, families throw out around 40 kilograms of plastic – a massive sum. Plastic is one of the most difficult materials to break down, and it can take up to 500 years to decompose, so it is incredibly influential that recycling of this useful material occurs. Luckily, these materials are easily recycled and sorted for reuse. Recycling facts for kids encourage children to recycle and to take pride in their environment.

 

Recycling Facts for Kids: How is Paper Recycled?

Paper can be broken down into many grades and types – some recycling facts for kids already. Knowing how paper is recycled is important as it gives an awareness of the material and creates a passion for children to know where their waste is going and what happens to it. The wasted paper has a variety of steps it must comply with in order to be recycled. Recycled papers’ finished product is that of arriving in clean rolls, and it is ready to be cut and sent back to the shops.

Recycling paper is a simple process which naturally begins with the collection of the substance from recycling bins and so on. This paper is taken to a recycling plant where it is treated accordingly. Due to the many varieties of paper, it is separated into types and grades before being washed with soapy water.

This removes inks, plastic films, staples, and any glue that might be in the paper. The paper is then placed in a large holder where it is mixed with water to create a ‘slurry’. This slurry contains many materials, which can lead to a variety of products being created.

Things like cardboard, newspapers, and office paper can all be made via this process. Finally, the slurry is spread using large rollers which transform it into large, thin sheets before it is left to dry out. This dried paper is eventually rolled and becomes a desirable material once it has been treated.

 

A Tour in a Recycling Factory: Recycling Facts for Kids

Recycling is becoming part of the daily routine, and it is an integral part of children’s development to understand its process. Knowing what recycling is and what it does for the environment, while ensuring your children grow up with a passion for protecting the world. Recycling is essentially the conversion of waste into an object to be reused. This process prevents the waste of potential products while reducing the consumption of raw materials. This, in turn, brings energy usage low, air pollution, and water pollution. All these variables make greenhouse gas emissions lower than if the item was to be made from scratch.

Fantastic recycling facts for kids help children remember ways to recycle. One way is to think about the slogan (Reduce, Reuse, recycle), these three Rs make you think about products and their necessities as well. Can you find a way to reuse a product before you make it another part of your waste?

Recycling centers do stellar jobs to ensure that people’s waste can be recycled and reused as different items. Recycling brings multiple benefits to people, singularly and in terms of larger companies. There is environmental and economic gain to be had from participating in recycling.

The environmental benefits include preventing the waste of millions of tons of raw materials, keeping litter flow to a minimum as it conserves natural resources. Having recycling plants opens up new jobs and reduces the money that is spent on waste – it’s a winning situation on both sides of the table.

 

Did you know recycling has always been a part of the process of making paper? Paper, as we know it today, paper is made from trees mostly grown in working forests and from recovered paper. When you recycle your used paper, paper mills use it to make new newspapers, notebook paper, paper grocery bags, corrugated boxes, envelopes, magazines, cartons, and other paper products.

What are the things we recycle most? Paper and newspapers

It’s easy to forget that trees are chopped down to make paper and that’s why it’s important that we recycle it. Here are some facts about paper recycling:

For each ton of paper that is recycled, around 17 trees are saved.

A recycled newspaper is made into a new newspaper within seven days. All of our newspapers are made from 100% recycled paper. Most toilet paper is made from recycled paper

Over 70% less air pollution is created by making new paper from recycled paper (rather than making it from raw materials)

Recycling Facts for Kids:

To protect the planet, we need to act quickly, and it all starts with you. One of the simplest ways that you can take care of the planet and protect it for future kids is by recycling.

How much do you know?

As kids, you might think that grown-ups get to make all the decisions, but you have a very important job to do. You have to protect the planet, so it’s a safe and healthy place to live, not only for yourselves but for future generations too. There are around 7 billion people living on earth, and as you can imagine, that means a lot of resources like water, wood, energy, and other materials get used, a lot of waste is produced from everything and thrown away, and the cars we drive pollute the atmosphere.

All of this has led to global warming, which is a rise in the earth’s temperature. Global warming is causing ice to melt in the Polar Regions which makes sea levels rise, so more places are at risk of flooding. It also causes extreme weather like hurricanes and droughts, which can damage the crops that are used to produce the food we eat. Global warming is also driving animals from their natural habitats and causing some species to become endangered.

To protect the planet, we need to act quickly, and it all starts with you. One of the simplest ways that you can take care of the planet and protect it for future kids is by recycling.

The Advantages of Recycling Paper:

Before throwing that piece of paper in the trash, consider how many trees you could save by starting a recycling program in your office or school. Even recycling newspapers and paper products at home can generate neighborhood interest and help save the earth. The advantages of recycling paper go far beyond saving trees and can start with a single piece of paper.

  Benefits.

Today, we’re going to tell you how paper is recycled and explain how to make homemade recycled paper. It’s a process that can be useful for special projects if you have a moment to learn it. I think you will be satisfied with something you made by yourself.

Recycling paper has several benefits, both for humans and the earth. Using recycled paper to make new paper reduces the number of trees that are cut down, conserving natural resources. In some instances, recycling services are cheaper than trash-disposal services.

Explore the previous examples and facts, and you will find yourself getting the necessary knowledge and information to fully grasp the concept of recycling. So, keep on visiting our Learning Mole to get more knowledge and information about all different kinds of stuff.

What can you recycle? Waste and trash is sorted out after being thrown away into different categories; paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, food and general waste and actually more than 60 percent of this waste could be recycled and used once again. Every process of recycling related to any of these different types is done in a different kind of way and every type could produce a percentage of energy different than the other, but they all end up with some benefits that call out for the whole recycling process from the beginning. Did you know that aluminum could be recycled and used once again in just 6 weeks? Aluminum is one of the materials used by people in the form of cans which lots of food comes in and that is why recycling would be important in such a case instead of throwing away all these cans without making any use of them. The interesting fact regarding aluminum recycling is that one recycled can could actually save energy to power a television for three hours!

How to recycle for kids
How to recycle for kids

What is recycling and why is it important? Maybe that’s the first question kids will ask when they are faced with this topic before they bring themselves to the more detailed information related to how is recycling done. Waste is usually divided into different categories to be sorted out for the recycling phase; paper, plastic, glass and aluminum and every single type goes through a different recycling process to bring it back into a new product. How is paper recycled? Wasted paper goes through different steps in the process of recycling to come back to new paper that is clean in rolls and ready to be cut and sent back to the shops.

Did you know that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy that could power your TV for three hours? That’s how important recycling is, it can give you back lots of things in return for the elements that you have recycled when you threw them away.

What is recycling?

Recycling is the process of converting waste into reusable objects to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, energy usage, air pollution, and water pollution by decreasing the need for conventional waste disposal and lowering greenhouse gas emissions compared to plastic production.

Have you ever heard of the waste hierarchy that says,

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?

This shows how much important it is to reduce the waste you bring out and try to reuse those things you have before going to the final decision which is throwing them away for recycling.

Recycling for kids

You can help by learning about and practicing the three R’s of waste management: Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Practicing all three of these activities every day is not only important for a healthy environment, but it can also be fun too.

How do you teach children to reduce reuse and recycle?

Use what you have for as long as possible and reduce the amount of stuff that you buy. Don’t fall for Buy One Get One Free ‘bargains’ if you know you’re not going to use the second item.

Consider each thing you buy and ask yourself if you really need it. Reusing and repurposing items can really open kids’ eyes.

Let’s look at how “reduce, reuse, recycle” happens at home with different ways to reuse and recycle without leaving your house.

– Repurpose Glass, Plastic, and Cardboard Containers


One of the best uses for empty plastic soda bottles is as a planter for flowers and herbs. Take an empty 2-liter pop bottle and cut off the top two-thirds, leaving the bottle’s bottom third.

Wash it thoroughly and voila! You have a reusable flower pot. In addition, empty glass and plastic jars make excellent kitchen storage and can be used as mixing containers for marinade or salad dressing.

And, keep in mind that empty shoe boxes make great storage bins for sundries like jewelry, toiletries, and household items.

– Designate a Kitchen Drawer for Plastic Bags


Oftentimes people will use plastic shopping bags once and throw them away. Instead, designate a drawer in your kitchen where you store plastic bags so that they can be reused. That small bag that carried your milk and bread home from the grocery store can be used as a liner for the bathroom wastebasket.

Reuse your Newspaper

Recycling for kids

Recycling

Recycling can benefit your community and the environment.


be aware that there are several ways to reuse that newspaper once you (and the rest of your family) have read it. You can use it as packing paper for fragile china, wrapping paper for gifts, or as a cleaning aid. Simply dip crumpled newspaper in water mixed with a splash of white vinegar and clear up those windows in an instant, without harmful chemicals.

– Supply Artists with Creative Materials


If you know a budding artist, who’s interested in being creative. You can provide supplies with recycled materials from your home. School children often need items like rubber bands or paper towel tubes for art projects while more developed artists might use anything from old appliances.

– Convert Old Sheets, Towels, and Clothing into Wash Rags


Old textiles such as sheets, towels, and cotton shirts can easily be turned into wash rags with a good pair of scissors. Throw the old items into your next load of laundry to make sure they’re clean before they take on new life, then simply cut them up into rectangles with a sharp pair of scissors. Store them with your cleaning supplies and they’ll be ready for your cleaning.

Types of Recycling

Here are the three main types of recycling: mechanical, energy, and chemical. Every single type is subdivided into minor categories, but understanding them gives us a better idea of how the world processes most of its recyclables.

Glass, paper, metal, plastic and textile, and finally electronic. Another type of recycling is composting which is the “reuse of biodegradable waste,” like garden mulch, or food.

With the Help of Bryson Recycling

Recycling the Right Way Key to Environment and Economy
BRYSON RECYCLING
Bryson’s separate collection model could save local councils £12 Million a year
The local companies who recycle materials collected by Bryson add £100m a year to the NI economy and employ over 700 people
Bryson Recycling has revealed a proposal that could tackle the climate crisis, slash waste exports, create jobs, and help local businesses thrive through a simpler, consistent approach to waste collection.


With Bryson’s model, more than 20% of households in Northern Ireland already have plastics, glass, paper, cans, and textiles collected separately on a weekly basis. This ensures that higher quality materials can remain in the country and be recycled by local companies, boosting the economy and creating employment.
Bryson Recycling is owned by the Bryson Charitable Group and is the leading social enterprise recycler in the UK. It employs over 320 staff, operates 11 recycling centers in Northern Ireland, Donegal, and Wales, and provides collection services for garden and residual waste.
The call to introduce a single collection system that pre-sorts materials collected could save local councils £12m a year.

It would also help the environment, boost recycling rates, strengthen the local economy, businesses, and communities. It will ensure less reliance on exports and lower both waste generation and carbon emissions in the fight against climate change.

“It is great to visit Bryson Recycling to see first-hand the key role they play in helping Northern Ireland transition to a circular economy. Their work has greatly assisted in contributing towards our current recycling performance and in helping to reduce carbon emissions from the waste sector”.

Explore the previous examples and facts, and you will find yourself getting the necessary knowledge and information to fully grasp the concept of Recycling. So, keep on visiting our Learning Mole to get more knowledge and information.

 Recycling
reduce-reuse-recycle

Why is Recycling Important?

The importance of recycling is something that we should be teaching the younger generation at a very early age. Recycling and recycling projects for kids are all areas we should be getting involved in.

It’s ‘Our World’, we all need to take care of it by educating children about recycling facts and the benefits of recycling, we are allowing them to see why it is just so important.

Teaching children to care for the environment is a learning experience that is an influential part of growing up. It gives them skills in respect, empathy, patience, responsibility, and teaches them about consequences.

But it also teaches them valuable lessons about sustainability and how we want to leave the world for future generations. Showing children how to recycle properly is like passing the baton to them for a cleaner and brighter future.

Throwing plastics, cans and paper in the recycling bin is more than just sorting the recyclables. It’s teaching young people about saving money by showing them how they can avoid waste. With can and bottle recycling, they learn about the benefits of cashing in the household, as well as discovering that taking their recyclables to the Scouts helps to fund the groups. This learned appreciation for the value of money is a lifelong skill best learned young.

Kids also learn about energy conservation and saving resources, through recycling. When you sort your garbage out, you can see how much you can reuse and put it to good use, jewelers, paint pots, and papier-mâché. With that in mind, kids also learn that when they recycle newspapers, the paper will turn back into newspapers, and bottles into other bottles.

When young people know that the things, they use can become other useful things, it can give them a better incentive to want to recycle. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the cycle of things?

This video explores reducing recycling symbols, gives interesting facts about it and explains the significance of the recycling logo. It helps to teach children to reuse and to understand the benefits of recycling.

What is Recycling?

Whether it’s plastic, paper, or aluminum, the products and materials that can be used after they fulfill their original purpose are far from worthless. In fact, most materials have great recycling value. It is estimated that up to 75% of all the waste can be recycled or repurposed, a figure that how impactful the process can be if done right. Almost everything we see around us can be recycled, although different materials require different techniques when they are recycled. Most of the common materials include batteries, biodegradable waste, clothing, electronics, garments, glass, metals, paper, plastics, and a lot more.

How to recycle for kids
How to recycle for kids

Types of Recycled Materials

It’s important to recycle any materials possible, but one of the most relevant is plastics, as they are such a big part of the solid waste that we make. When plastic is sent to a landfill, it does not break down as it’s not biodegradable, and even in the ocean water, plastic stays around forever, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces (microplastics). Most plastics are used only once before they are discarded, known as single-use plastics — this type of single-use plastic is already being banned in many parts of the world.

Metal is also very important as it saves energy, reduces emissions, and creates jobs. Using recycled metal, known as scrap metal, instead of new metal reduces mining waste by 97% and saves more than 90% on energy, depending on the material. Recycled metals create six times more jobs than sending the metals to a landfill.

Recycling helps extend our life

Some ways to reduce and reuse include looking for products that use less packaging, which means less raw materials, buying reusable over disposable items, maintaining and repairing products like clothing, so they don’t have to be thrown away and borrowing, renting or sharing items that are used infrequently like tools. Reducing our consumption should be the first step, and reusing also tends to be far more sustainable than recycling. Recycling means turning an item into raw materials which can be used again, either for the same product or a new one, while reusing means using an object as it is, without treatment.

Recycling helps conserve important raw materials and protects natural habitats for the future.

Reducing – Try to reduce the amount of waste you produce, as this is the best way to help the environment!

Reusing – Think of ways you could reuse something, like shredding paper for your hamster rather than buying bedding or saving glass jars for storage.

Get kids involved by:

  • Setting recycling chores
  • Let them be in charge of bringing reusable shopping bags to stores
  • Let them sort the recycling
  • Decorate bins in different colors for each recycling category
  • Create a compost heap
  • Take them to donate their old clothes and toys
  • Have arts and craft time with recycled materials
  • Give them books about recycling that are appropriate for their age

Once kids learn to recycle at home, they can spread the word and make sure people are sorting recyclables at school, at their sports clubs, and with their friends. A sustainable future depends on what we do today, and good habits can become second nature.

Recycling, Reduce and Reuse

For extracting (mining, quarrying, and logging), refining, and processing raw materials, all of which create substantial air and water pollution. As recycling saves energy, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change.

When we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources. If used materials are not recycled, new products are made by extracting fresh, raw material from the Earth, through mining and forestry.

Recycling helps conserve important raw materials and protects natural habitats for the future.

Some ways to reduce and reuse include looking for products that use less packaging, which means less raw materials, buying reusable over disposable items, maintaining and repairing products like clothing, so they don’t have to be thrown away and borrowing, renting, or sharing items that are used infrequently like tools.

Reducing our consumption should be the first step, and reusing also tends to be far more sustainable than recycling. Recycling means turning an item into raw materials which can be used again, either for the same product or a new one, while reusing means using an object as it is, without treatment.

Recycling Saves Energy

Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials – even when comparing all associated costs, including transport, etc.

Plus, there are extra energy savings because more energy is required to extract, refine, transport, and process raw materials ready for industry compared with providing industry-ready materials.

Reducing – Try to reduce the amount of waste you produce, as this is the best way to help the environment! If you cannot avoid producing the waste, try…

Reusing – Think of ways you could reuse something, like shredding paper for your hamster rather than buying bedding or saving glass jars for storage. If you cannot reuse something, try…

Five Benefits of Recycling

  • Reduces waste sent to landfills and incinerators. When we recycle, recyclable materials are reprocessed into new products, and as a result the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites reduces. There are over 1,500 landfill sites in the UK, and in 2001, these sites produced a quarter of the UK’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
  • Prevents pollution. Recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials, all of which create substantial air and water pollution. As recycling saves energy, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change. Currently UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tons of CO2 a year – the equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road.
  • Conserves natural resources. When we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources. If used materials are not recycled, new products are made by extracting fresh, raw material from the Earth, through mining and forestry. Recycling helps conserve important raw materials and protects natural habitats for the future.
  • Conserves energy. Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products.
  • Creates jobs, producing economic benefits.

Recycling is much more than just reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill, with a long list of benefits that aren’t limited to the environment — there are economic and social advantages to recycling.

Even as we live in a consumer-driven world, with a growing appetite for new things, if we begin to look at the waste created by this level of consumption in a different light, we might turn our problem into an opportunity for a great life.

So, let us work together to help our Planet by disposing of recyclables thoughtfully, you are already contributing to a more sustainable planet, but by recycling, you are helping to preserve raw materials, use less energy, reduce landfills, and toxic material leached into the ground through landfills.

Explore the previous examples and facts, and you will find yourself getting the necessary knowledge and information to fully grasp the concept of recycling. So, keep on visiting our Learning Mole to get more information about this topic and so much more!

Our planet Earth is full of wonders and marvels. From nature and marine life in the oceans and rivers, mountains and waterfalls to the complicated yet miraculous structure of the human body. If we look around, or inside, we will always be in awe of the stunning arrangement of the system we live in.

The great set-up in which our planet Earth operates did not come into existence overnight. Previously on Learningmole.com, we have understood how the Solar System formed 4.5 billion years ago. Everything that we have now started as small as a speck of dust then evolved.

Today, we are going to look into one of these marvels of our planet which is so indispensable for life. Well, what I want to say is that we will not actually be here without it. Today, we are learning about the atmosphere of Earth.

What is the atmosphere?

Earth’s atmosphere is known as the thick layer of gases that wrap our planet. We may also call it air. Such a layer extends from the surface of Earth to 10,000 km above. That is the distance from Cairo, Egypt in Northern Africa to Cape Town in South Africa! That is an enormous distance!

It is interesting to mention here that although we say that the atmosphere’s height is 10,000 km above sea level, actually there is no dividing line between the last level of the atmosphere and the beginning of outer space. They only just merge into one another.

The atmosphere is as heavy as 5.5 quadrillion tons! That is a really big mass! And it is puzzling as well. We can imagine air as something light, very light actually it is almost weightless! But it is not. In fact, such a very heavy weight is literally above our heads and 66.6% of it is found at a height of 11 km from Earth’s surface.

But how does the atmosphere stay in place and wrap Earth? Why does it not escape to space? Well, it is Earth’s gravity that pulls the atmosphere down. This pulling action creates a force on Earth’s surface known as the atmospheric pressure.

Why is the atmosphere incredibly important?

We literally cannot live without the atmosphere. Not only because we need oxygen to breathe, but also because the atmosphere is responsible for so many essential aspects of life. 

For example, the atmospheric pressure turns water vapor into liquid water. Such a process is called condensation. With liquid water, life on Earth is possible. That is the first reason why the atmosphere is very important to us.

Secondly, the atmosphere prevents the heat coming from the Sun from escaping back to space. This happens as the surface of Earth absorbs sunlight and radiates heat. But carbon dioxide absorbs such heat and traps it in the atmosphere. This warms the surface of Earth and makes it suitable for us to live on it. This is known as the greenhouse effect.

When the heat is locked in the atmosphere, it also keeps the night less cold which allows life on Earth. If there were no atmosphere at all, Earth would be so hot during the day and so cold during night that no living being would be able to survive.

The atmosphere also protects us from meteors. Meteors are small objects of rocks or metal that hit the Earth from outer space. They are a lot smaller than asteroids. Actually, they can be as small as a grain or as big as one meter-wide. When such meteors hit Earth, the atmosphere burns them before reaching the surface and causing any harm. When they burn, they create a ball of fire that we know as a shooting star.

📌 Yearly, an automobile size asteroid hits Earth but the atmosphere burns it before reaching the surface.

The atmosphere is also important because it protects us from the Sun’s harmful waves. These waves are called ultraviolet radiation. If anyone gets exposed to it, it will damage their skin cells and may also give them cancer. Luckily, we have the atmosphere to protect us.

In addition, the atmosphere has oxygen which we need to breathe and carbon dioxide which plants need to generate oxygen for us. That is why the atmosphere is very important for life on Earth.

Earth’s atmosphere is composed of 78% nitrogen (N), 20.95% oxygen (O2), 0.93% argon (Ar), 0.04% carbon dioxide (CO2), and little amounts of different other gases.

📌 All planets have an atmosphere, except Mercury.

Then how did the atmosphere form?

Well, let’s get a little back in time, 4.5 billion years back to be precise.

Earth’s atmosphere started once Earth settled as a big ball of rocks. Scientists believe that our atmosphere has passed by different stages to be what it is today. So let’s explore these stages one by one, from the very beginning to the present moment.

Earliest atmosphere

The very first stage of the formation of Earth’s atmosphere started 4.5 billion years ago. The atmosphere was mostly hydrogen (H) at the time with little amounts of water vapor, ammonia (NH3), and methane (CH4).

The second atmosphere

Around 3.5 billion years ago on Earth, there was an extremely intense series of volcanic eruptions that swept gases from the interior of Earth and released them into the atmosphere. 

Simultaneously, Earth was bombarded by asteroids, rocks, and particles left over from the formation of the Solar System. These rocks failed to form planets on their own so they started hitting Earth. Such an event is known as the Late Heavy Bombardment and is believed to have lasted for about 700 million years.

These two events changed the then hydrogen-rich atmosphere significantly. The new atmosphere consisted of nitrogen (N), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and other gases. Nitrogen made up the major part of the atmosphere.

Third atmosphere

While Earth was dealing with the crazy volcanoes we mentioned earlier around 3.5 billion years ago, the very first form of life on Earth appeared. It was a microorganism known as anaerobic bacteria. It lived in the ocean and did not require oxygen to survive. Well, this makes sense because the atmosphere had no oxygen in the first place.

Over hundreds of millions of years, some bacteria evolved until they obtained the ability to produce energy using photosynthesis, just like plants. This bacteria is called Cyanobacteria and is now found everywhere on Earth.

Cyanobacteria started absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. With the help of water and sunlight, it could produce sugars to use for energy and released oxygen (O2) as a waste product.

This oxygen was then released into the ocean. But the anaerobic bacteria (remember them from above?) were allergic to oxygen. And with all this newly produced oxygen, the ocean was full of toxins for the poor anaerobic bacteria which killed them all.

Scientists called this event the first mass extinction in history. It is also called The Great Oxygenation event or The Oxygen Catastrophe. This is one time when oxygen played the bad guy.

Anyways, oxygen (O2) also oxidized the materials in the ocean, notably iron. So, when the ocean was full of oxygen, it started to be released into the atmosphere and accumulated. It also reacted with methane (CH4) to form carbon dioxide (CO2). As Cyanobacteria reproduced fast, it absorbed a great amount of carbon dioxide from the air and released more and more oxygen.

With Cyanobacteria absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and oxygen (O2) reacting with methane (CH4), the amounts of these two greenhouse gases decreased significantly. Consequently, there was nothing to keep Earth warm so the temperature went down so much that Earth became very cold. Many believe that this was the beginning of the first ice age.

Though, oxygen remained active. About 600 million years ago, and as oxygen (O2) accumulated in the air, it started to absorb the ultraviolet radiation coming from the Sun. This caused the oxygen molecule (O2) to split into two atoms (O and O). Such single atoms then combined with oxygen molecules (O2) to form ozone (O3).

Ozone (O3) piled up and formed a band that shielded the entire Earth. This shield absorbed all the ultraviolet radiation and prevented it from reaching Earth’s surface. Such an act enabled life to be possible on the surface of Earth and not just exclusive to the oceans.

Since then, the levels of oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere varied until they reached a steady percentage of more than 15%, then reached its peak of 30% around 280 million year ago. Scientists do not know why oxygen levels fluctuated. But it finally reached a steady level at 21% of the atmosphere.

So now we understand how our atmosphere came to be 78% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, and 0.04% carbon dioxide.

Layers of the atmosphere

We mentioned before that the atmosphere extends from the surface of Earth to 10,000 km up. Despite this great distance, the atmosphere is nowhere near bulky! In fact, the atmosphere is composed of five different layers. Each layer has a different length and many many different features. Let’s explore them one by one.

(1) Troposphere

The troposphere is the first layer of the atmosphere. It extends from the surface of Earth to several kilometers up in the sky. This thickness changes based on where you are. For instance, if you are at the north or south poles, the troposphere will extend to only 6 km. But if you are at the equator, the troposphere is 18 km thick. So the average thickness of the troposphere is 13 km, from the surface of Earth up. The troposphere contains 75% of the mass of the whole atmosphere as well.

Because it starts from the surface of Earth, the troposphere contains the greatest amount of water vapor. This is because water vapor stems from oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, as well as plants. Water vapor then creates clouds which in turn drive rain and snow. That is why the weather phenomena happen in the troposphere.

The troposphere is also known for having air turbulence. The hot surface of Earth heats the air above it. But the warmer air is more buoyant than the cool air so it floats higher pushing the cool air down toward the surface. The hot surface then heats the cool air which goes up letting the air which is now cooler go down. This air movement is called turbulence.

📌 In fact, the troposphere is called troposphere because the word ‘tropo’ means rotation in Greek. It refers to the rotation of air, turbulence, which occurs in this layer.

When it comes to temperature, we find it changes just like the thickness of the troposphere. At the equator, the temperature ranges from 20°C on the surface to −75°C at the end of the troposphere. At the poles, the temperature starts from 0°C to −45°C at the end of the layer. The poles are icy, you know!

So the higher we go, the lower the temperature gets. But at some point, the temperature ceases to decrease with height. This is exactly where the troposphere ends and where the tropopause starts.

The tropopause is the boundary between the troposphere and the second layer of the atmosphere, the stratosphere. In this pause layer, air temperature does the exact opposite. It increases the higher we go (we will know why in a bit). That means the warmer air is above the cooler air. That is why the tropopause is called the inversion layer.

(2) Stratosphere

The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere after the troposphere. It starts from the end of the tropopause and extends for 35 km higher. Temperature in this layer ranges from −51°C to −3°C at the end of this layer.

Wait! −51°C is colder than −15°C! That means the temperature at the beginning of the layer is colder than the end. That also means the higher we go, the warmer it gets, just like the tropopause! So why does this happen? Why does the temperature increase with height?

Well, this is due to the ozone layer, the guardian angel that protects Earth from the dangerous ultraviolet radiation coming from the Sun.

Do you remember how ozone forms? Yes, that happens when an oxygen atom (O) combines with an oxygen molecule (O2). Scientists have found that ozone is better at absorbing ultraviolet radiation. And this absorption heats up the stratosphere.

As the temperature rises the higher we go, this creates different layers of temperature along the stratosphere. That is why it was called stratosphere because strato means layer.

Because these layers have ascending temperatures, warmer air is always above the cooler air and this is exactly where they should be. So air is stable where it is; it does not move. As a result, there is no turbulence in the stratosphere.

📌 Because there is no turbulence, airplanes like to fly in this region of the atmosphere. Since there is not much air resistance, planes can fly faster and burn less fuel.

What is interesting is that some birds such as rüppell’s vulture and bar-headed geese can fly as high as in the stratosphere!

And just like the tropopause, there is the stratopause at the end of the stratosphere. It acts like a border between this layer and the next one, the mesosphere. The stratopause stretches for about 5 km.

(3) Mesosphere

Now with the third layer of the atmosphere: the mesosphere. This layer extends from the stratopause at a height of 50 km from surface level to around 80-85 km above. That means the mesosphere is around 35 km thick.

Since the mesosphere is the third layer, it is the middle one. That is why it is called meso because meso is a Greek word that means middle.

Leaving the ozone layer behind, the temperature goes back to its first behavior. It decreases with altitude. The mesosphere has an average temperature of −85 °C. At the end of the mesosphere, there is the mesopause which marks the end of this layer and the beginning of the layer after.

The mesopause extends for 15 km; from 85 km from sea level to 100 km. It is the coldest region on the planet since its temperature is −143°C. And because it is very high in the sky, sometimes it is referred to as near space.

The mesosphere is where meteors burn, resulting in meteor showers or shooting stars. When meteors and small asteroids enter the mesosphere, they collide with the air. This collision is called friction which generates fire (just like when you grind two rocks against each other fast to get fire).

So the mesosphere protects us from dangerous bodies coming from space.

Given that it is so high in the sky, planes cannot fly in the mesosphere. Satellites are not located there as well because they orbit Earth at a much higher level. And even though scientists can send rockets, they can only study the mesosphere for a few minutes.

As a result, we do not know much about the mesosphere. Unfortunately. That is why the mesosphere got its nickname: ignorosphere!

(4) Thermosphere

Thermosphere is the fourth layer of the atmosphere. It starts from the mesopause and extends for a thickness of 513 km. That is by far the thickest layer we have studied so far. It is called thermo which refers to heat.

Like the stratosphere, the thermosphere absorbs the Sun’s highly energetic radiation which creates heat within the layer. Sometimes, the temperature can reach 2000°C and even more. The temperature also increases with higher altitudes.

The International Space Station (ISS) resides in this region and orbits Earth. This station is a cooperative project between five different countries in which scientists stay in orbit and study space.

Space shuttles and satellites also orbit Earth from the thermosphere. Space shuttles are rockets that can be used multiple times to travel to and from space. They are used to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station. They can also stay in orbit for some time so scientists can study different features of space.

One of the most successful and popular space shuttles is Discovery, developed by NASA, which stayed in work for 27 years from 1984 until it retired in 2011.

Wait!

If the temperature of the thermosphere can get to as high as 2000°C, why then did the International Space Station, nor space shuttles and satellites not melt?

That is a good question! To answer it, we need to learn how heat is transferred.

For liquids and gases, heat is transferred by a process called convection. Any gas has atoms or molecules and they are free to move because the distances between them are large. When we heat a gas, the molecules take the heat energy and they start to move faster.

As molecules go crazy from here to there, they collide with other molecules and give them some of this energy. And there you go, heat is transferred.

When distances between atoms or molecules increase so much, we call the gas less dense or thin. And the air in the thermosphere is very thin.

Keeping this in mind, let’s get back to the thermosphere and look into what happens in it:

  1. Molecules absorb the ultraviolet radiation and get so energetic.
  2. The temperature of the molecules rises so much, sometimes it reaches 2000°C.
  3. Molecules move around so fast trying to collide with other molecules to give them energy but they find no one because other molecules are so far-distant.
  4. Eventually, heat stays inside the molecules and is never transferred.

In fact, if we go to the thermosphere, we would feel cold rather than hot! That is why astronauts at the International Space Station never melt.

(4.1) Ionosphere

As the ozone layer is within the stratosphere, the ionosphere is a layer within parts of the mesosphere and it takes the entire layer of thermosphere as well as some parts of the exosphere (the fifth and last layer of the atmosphere).

The ionosphere extends for a distance of 917 kilometers! It is called ionosphere because it is ionized. To understand what ‘ionized’ means, we need to go back to the very first chemistry lesson: atoms and molecules.

An atom is the smallest particle there is. A molecule is made of two or more atoms connected together. An atom has a nucleus, protons, electrons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are inside the nucleus while electrons orbit the nucleus.

Protons have a positive charge but neutrons, you guessed it, are neutral. It means they have no electric charges. Meanwhile, electrons have a negative charge. And they spin around the nucleus in an orbit, just like Earth orbits the Sun.

Each atom is neutral because it has an equal number of protons (+) and electrons (-). These two opposite charges cancel each other so the atom stays neutral. 

When the number of electrons and protons is unequal, the atom is called an ion. Ions are electrically charged. If the number of electrons is higher than the number of protons, ions are negatively charged and vice versa. They are positively charged if the protons are more than the electrons.

Back to our topic..

We have mentioned in the thermosphere that gases in this layer absorb the ultraviolet waves from the Sun. This tremendous energy pushes an electron or two out of their 

atom which turns it into a positive ion. These free electrons collide with other atoms and make them negative ions.

This ionization process makes the oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the thermosphere produce free electrons and light. Oxygen gives out green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple. This light can be seen from Earth and we know it as aurora.

If you live anywhere in Norway, Sweden, Alaska, or Canada, you will be able to see auroras.

📌 Since the ionization process is activated by the highly energetic radiation from the Sun, the thickness of the ionosphere changes dramatically during the day and at night.

(5) Exosphere

The exosphere is the outermost layer of the atmosphere and the largest in distance as well. It extends from the thermopause, which marks the end of the thermosphere, for 9300 km! 

In this part of the atmosphere, the air is so thin. This means that there are great distances between gas molecules so they do not collide with each other. The gases in this layer are mostly hydrogen and helium.

The exosphere is hence the perfect home for satellites because they can orbit Earth without any problems of friction or disruption since the air is very thin.

Weather

We cannot mention the atmosphere without discussing the weather. Weather is a very distinctive feature of Earth’s atmosphere and it dramatically affects how we live on this planet as well as the development of humanity in general.

When we think of weather, we know we are referring to how hot or cold a day is and whether or not it is rainy or windy. Well, this is pretty correct. Weather is caused by changes in the air temperature, air pressure, and how much water vapor is in there. That is why most weather phenomena happen within the troposphere.

Why does weather happen?

To understand how changes in the air temperature, pressure, and amount of water vapor determine the weather events we are familiar with, let’s study the lifecycle of water vapor.

Humidity

We can define humidity as how much water vapor there is in the air. Heat from the Sun causes water from rivers, lakes, oceans, seas, and even dew on leaves to evaporate. Water then turns into its gas state and becomes vapor. When we feel it is too humid, this is because there is so much water vapor in the air.

Clouds

We have learned before that in the troposphere, the higher we go, the colder it gets. So when water vapor goes high in the air where it is cooler, it starts to condense on teeny-tiny particles such as dust, salt crystals, and ash, which act as surfaces to the water vapor.

So water vapor condenses and goes back to its liquid state, water. Well, it actually forms water droplets. Water droplets then accumulate and form a cloud. Sometimes, if it is too cold (temperature is usually 0°C or lower), water droplets turn into ice crystals and form an ice cloud.

So if clouds are pure liquid water or ice in the form of droplets, why do they not fall down from the clouds? How can clouds float in the air?

Well that is a good question. Let’s know how this happens.

Everything on the surface of the planet as well as the atmosphere that extends for 10,000 km above is pulled down by Earth’s gravity. And for an object to fall down, it must also have a mass. The heavier an object is, the faster it falls back to Earth. And vice versa. That is why a rock reaches the ground so fast but a balloon takes longer.

Those water or ice droplets in the clouds are so tiny. Their weight is so small that Earth’s gravity does not affect them. And because the air is dense, it pushes them up so they float in the clouds. As a result, they do not fall back to Earth.

Clouds grow at different altitudes from Earth’s surface. Based on where they are in the atmosphere, they can be classified in three different categories. Low-level Clouds form at ground level to almost 2 km up. Mid-level Clouds start at a height of 2 km and have a range of 5 km (to 7 km up). High-level Clouds start at altitudes of 5 km up to 12-13 km.

Fog

When clouds form at or near ground level, they are called fog. Usually fog forms at a height lower than 15 m. When it is higher than that, it is a cloud.

Precipitation

When water droplets in a cloud get so large and heavy that the air cannot carry them anymore, they get subjected to Earth’s gravitational pull and they fall back down to the surface of Earth. This falling water is called precipitation.

Precipitation includes different types, some of which are very familiar to us and others may sound a little bizarre:

  1. Drizzle
  2. Rain
  3. Sleet
  4. Snow
  5. Graupel
  6. Hail

Each one of those takes specific conditions to form. So let’s discuss them one by one.

Drizzle vs. Rain vs. Sleet

Precipitation includes different types which depend on either the size of the water droplets or the conditions at which they form. If the water droplets falling from the clouds have a diameter of less than 0.5 mm, they are called drizzles.

If the droplet’s size is 0.5 mm or bigger, it is called rain. Rain can be light, moderate, or heavy based on its intensity. When sunlight passes through rain droplets, light is scattered to its seven colors which we collectively call the rainbow.

If the temperature where the cloud is located is 0°C or lower, droplets of drizzle or rain turn into ice as they fall. These icy balls are usually less than 0.76 cm in diameter and we call them sleet.

Snowflakes

Sometimes during the formation process of clouds and when the temperature gets very low, usually below 0°C, water vapor condenses directly to ice crystals without going through its liquid form. These ice crystals accumulate to form an ice cloud.

Then, ice crystals absorb more water vapor and freeze it. The result of this is the formation of more crystals onto one another. These crystals are called snow clusters or aggregates which then fall to the ground forming the familiar white snow blanket.

While ice crystals are fairly clear, these resultant snow clusters are white. This is because the snow clusters reflect light in all directions until it goes out of it. The reflected light includes all colors which together look white.

Typically, as the ice crystals aggregate to form clusters, they would cluster in 6-armed symmetrical or almost symmetrical hexagon shapes. These perfect shapes have confused scientists for years. Finally, we understood that they are mainly influenced by the chemistry of water.

Water (H2O) consists of two atoms of hydrogen (H) and one atom of oxygen (O2). Usually oxygen has a negative charge and the hydrogen atom has a positive charge. This is called a water molecule. When water becomes ice, these water molecules start to attract each other and stick together.

The negative charge of oxygen attracts the positive charge of hydrogen and they result in a beautiful hexagon shape. This is called a hydrogen bond.

When ice crystals absorb water vapor which freezes onto them, these crystals take the shape of the hydrogen bond in ice. That is why snowflakes have a hexagon shape.

We mentioned that snowflakes form in ice clouds. Every cloud is subject to different conditions of temperature and humidity. The difference between such conditions controls the shape of each snowflake. It is even said that every snowflake is unique, that no two snowflakes are alike.

Sometimes the conditions are so severe that they diminish the hexagon shape altogether and make snowflakes completely irregular.

When snowflakes become heavy, they fall to the ground.

Graupel vs. Hail

Sometimes, clouds get so cold, around −40°C, but water droplets in them stay in their liquid state. In this case, they are called supercooled water droplets. When snowflakes fall through one of these supercooled clouds, the supercooled water droplets stick to the surface of the snowflake and then freezes.

These frozen water droplets then accumulate on top of the snowflake until the beautiful hexagon shape of the snowflake is no longer identified. These frozen droplets are called graupel. Graupel is usually 2–5 mm in diameter.

And these supercooled clouds are called cumulus clouds.

Thunderstorms, which we will discuss in a bit, cause air to move up, pushing graupel so it does not fall to ground. So more water droplets from the supercooled clouds stick to and freeze onto the graupel causing it to grow. When the graupel gets so heavy that the air cannot hold it anymore, it falls down to the surface and is then called hail.

Thunderstorms

Clouds form in different types, shapes, and colors that are determined based on the conditions at which they form. One of them is the very common cloud type we are all familiar with. It looks puffy, fluffy, and cotton-like. These clouds are called cumulus clouds.

Cumulus clouds create a different, bigger, and taller type of cloud called cumulonimbus. Such clouds accumulate upward and they look like towers of clouds. That is why they are called the kings of clouds.

Cumulonimbus clouds form at a height of 200 to 4,000 m and they grow upward to a maximum of 12 km from the surface of Earth. Some of these clouds were even found to grow to an altitude of 21 km! That means these towering clouds exceed the troposphere itself and even grow in the stratosphere. How gigantic! 

The temperature of the cumulonimbus clouds is usually way below 0°C and can sometimes reach −30°C. Due to such low temperatures, they have ice crystals.

Wind causes these ice crystals to move up and down fast so they collide with each other. Remember the ionization process? These collisions cause electrons to be knocked off their molecules to make them positively charged. Then free electrons collide with other ice crystals and make them negatively charged.

Moving air causes the positive charges to go to the top of the cloud and the negative ones go to its bottom. It also acts as a barrier between them so they do not attract each other.

As the ionization process continues, the negative charges at the bottom of the cloud grow magnificently. Right at this moment, they get so strong that they overcome the air barrier. So they start to attract the positive charges whether those within the cloud itself or the positive charges of the ground.

These two opposite charges move toward each other. Once they touch, the negative charges from the cloud begin to move quickly towards positive ones and a sudden flash of light bursts into the air caused by this discharge of electricity. This light is actually a very strong electric current and we know it as lightning.

The tremendous amount of negative charges is called a stepped leader because it is the one that leads the whole lightning process.

Lightning bolts are also tremendously hot, reaching a temperature of 27,760°C! That is five times hotter than the surface of the Sun!

This immense heat causes the air to expand quickly. When the expanding air moves, it makes a sonic shock sound which we know as thunder.

Thunderstorms are usually accompanied by extreme rainfall, sleet, and hail.

Wind

We might define wind as the movement of air, and this is fairly correct. But how does the air move in the first place? Well, just like something as gigantic as thunderstorms was initiated by tiny water droplets, wind is existent because of air pressure.

We have understood that air is made of different gases. We have nitrogen (N), oxygen (O2), aragorn (Ar1), and little amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor and other gases.

The molecules of these gases have weight. Since all molecules are pulled down by Earth’s gravity, their weight presses on the air or surface below them. When the number of molecules increases, this pressing force increases in return. So the pressure increases.

And vice versa, the fewer the molecules, the lower air pressure gets.

Temperature affects air pressure. Heat causes gas particles to move faster and away from one another so their number in a given area decreases and makes the pressure low. Also altitudes change air pressure. The higher we go, the fewer the air molecules. So pressure is low. 

When there are two places with high and low pressures, air would always try to equalize itself. So the air molecules of high pressure move towards the lower pressure areas to balance the pressure out. This movement is the wind.

The bigger the difference in air pressure between different places, the faster the wind blows.

Wildfires

Forest fire flame composition destructive fire that destroys trees and entire forests vector illustration

Wildfires are an extreme weather event in which fire burns plants, kills animals, pollutes the air, causes people to leave their homes, and sometimes even kills them.

Scientists could track back wildfires to 420 million years ago. They started after plants appeared on Earth. In this section, we are going to discuss how wildfires occur, how they change the atmosphere, and whether or not they have any good sides.

Wildfires happen randomly and unexpectedly. They can start from a small dwarfing spark of a leftover cigarette or by a lightning strike. Wildfires are usually initiated with the presence of three main components: heat or flame, fuel, and oxygen. And all three of these are available in the forest. 

High temperature evaporates water and makes plants, trees, grass, bush, and everything in the forest dry. Fire cannot happen if the plant has water. So dry plants are a perfect fuel for the fire. Secondly, oxygen and we already have plenty of it in the atmosphere. So what is missing? Well, we need a spark to start a fire.

The majority of wildfires are ignited by, unfortunately, people. The carelessness of people to be fair. The spark or flame which starts wildfires could be something as trivial as a cigarette leftover or when someone forgets to put out the fire they lit as they were camping in the woods.

So the tiny spark fires the poor dry plant which then reacts with oxygen in the air. As a result, fire is magnified and gases and smoke are released.

Naturally-caused wildfires

Nature itself can also cause wildfires. They occur by the extreme heat coming from the Sun, lightning strikes, volcanoes, and the wind as well.

Heat? Can heat by itself start a fire? Yes. Yes, it can. Here is how.

Every substance has a temperature called autoignition temperature. When this temperature is reached, a substance can react with oxygen (O2) and burn spontaneously without an external source of flame or spark.

Lightning strikes can also initiate wildfires because they generate very strong electric current. But if the lightning is accompanied by rain, wildfires fail to start because the rain puts out any fires. 

Volcanoes can also start wildfires using their lava. Lava is burning rocks that spread over long distances. It is extremely hot, reaching, sometimes, a temperature of 1200°C. When they reach dry grass land for instance, their tremendous heat can start a fire.

The wind also has a hand in spreading wildfires over long distances. Since it provides the fire with a bigger supply of oxygen, the wind helps the wildfire magnify and pushes it to different places. The stronger the wind blows, the faster the wildfire spreads.

📌 If the air is very humid, wildfires are less likely to happen because the water in plants will not allow the fire to happen.

But are wildfires any good?

Since wildfires started to happen ever since plants appeared on Earth, the environment, by some means, could survive through them. In other words, wildfires in and of themselves are a part of nature.

But how could nature evolve with the presence of wildfires given the destruction they leave behind? Well, that is a good question. Let’s break the answer down.

Fire clears the forest from the dead organisms that can badly affect other living organisms. When plants die or rot, they fall on the ground and build up a shield that prevents organisms in the soil from accessing their food which they get from outside such as the atmosphere. This shield also prevents small plants from growing.

So the fire burns this dead shield and gives the soil an open window to the atmosphere so it can breathe. Also when these dead plants burn, they turn into ash which is usually full of nutrients for the soil. So the soil quickly absorbs the ash to become healthy and fresh.

A healthy soil is a fertile soil. Farmers need fertile soil to grow vegetables and fruit which we need to have a healthy diet.

Another good side of wildfires is that they help some plants and insects to grow. I know this sounds strange but here is how.

When the holiday season is approaching, people start to buy or cut down trees to decorate as Christmas trees. Well, there are different types of Christmas trees, one of them is called pine trees (pineapples come from the same family by the way).

In order for new pine trees to grow, their seeds must go into the soil. But unfortunately, the seeds are stuck inside thick and stiff pitch cones and only fire can melt the pitch and allow the seed to come out.

Another benefit of wildfire is gained by a type of butterfly called karner blue (it is blue) which requires fire to come to existence. A baby butterfly is usually called a carter pillar and it has to go through a process called metamorphosis in order to grow into an adult butterfly. Yet, its food is a plant called wild lupine which does not flourish without fire.

But still, wildfires are detrimental

Despite the benefits wildfires bring to some species, they are still dangerous because they burn large areas of plants and vegetation and kill animals that live in these forests. Not only plants and animals are affected but the atmosphere and therefore us as well.

As fire burns forests, it releases large amounts of smoke, carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen oxides (NO). Smoke causes air pollution in the area of wildfire as well as very distant areas because it travels so far. Smoke causes health problems to people.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas which traps the heat inside Earth’s atmosphere and prevents it from escaping to space. This, as we will see in the next section, puts our planet in danger.

Effects of human activity on the atmosphere

As we discussed earlier, the atmosphere has been evolving since the formation of Earth. It responded to the changes our planet was subjected to until it made our life on Earth possible. But, did we return the favor? Well, not quite.

In order to understand how human activity affects the atmosphere and puts our beloved planet in danger, we need to hop into a time machine and go back to 18th-century Britain.

In the mid-18th century, Britain started using machines in factories rather than people. Machines enabled the production of incredibly large amounts of products such as textiles. For the machines to work, they needed power and their power was fossil fuels.

What are fossil fuels?

Well, when animals and plants die and get buried, their bodies decompose into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces are then mixed with the soil and with the heat from inside Earth; they turn into fuel over time. Well, I mean over millions and millions of years. And they are called fossil fuels.

When fossil fuels burn, they give out energy so humans started to use them as an energy source for the machines.

As time went by and as more technological changes were introduced to societies, the usage, and then burning, of fossil fuels increased dramatically. And now we depend on them to provide the essential needs for life. For example, we burn fossil fuels to have electricity, heat homes, and run cars and factories.

The most common types of fossil fuels are coal, natural gas, and oil. When these fuels burn, they mainly release carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NO), and methane (CH4). These gases changed the planet dramatically. They caused air pollution and global warming which may one day be responsible for the drowning of our cities. 

Besides burning fossil fuels, humans also burn waste in order to get rid of it. Fire releases smoke and chemicals that pollute the air and cause serious health problems. And let’s not forget sprays, paints, and perfumes that harm the atmosphere and magnify air pollution.

Air pollution

The gases from burning fossil fuels, smoke, and the chemicals released to the air all change the composition of the air we breathe, resulting in air pollution which causes serious health problems to humans, animals, and plants.

For example, nitrogen oxides (NO) create smog. Smog looks exactly like fog. Although fog is made of tiny water droplets and caused completely by nature, smog on the other hand is human-made fog containing harmful gases. It is called smog because it is part smoke and part fog.

On the one hand, nitrogen oxides are helpful in creating the ozone gas which we are now familiar with. Though ozone blocks the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, it is helpful only when it is in the stratosphere layer, up there. But when ozone is in the troposphere, we can breathe it.

Inhaled ozone can cause many health problems especially for kids and old people as well as those who have asthma because it causes shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing.

Global warming

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) which are released from burning fossil fuels are greenhouse gases. That means they lock the heat coming from the Sun in the atmosphere, precisely in the troposphere, and prevent it from going back to space.

The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped inside. This increasing heat is one of such threats that endanger our planet and we know it as global warming.

Global warming increases the temperature which makes summers longer and winters shorter. This high temperature also causes wildfires to happen more frequently which in turn release large amounts of smoke and harmful gases as discussed above.

Another serious consequence of high temperature is that it causes water to evaporate at a higher rate. More water vapor means more and more clouds. Then, we have more heavy rains which cause floods, kill plants, damage the soil and make it unsuitable for growing plants anymore. Floods also damage people’s homes and drown them.

On the other hand, evaporation also causes drought. It sucks the water from plants making them dry, evaporating all water from Earth’s surface, making it water unavailable for the animals who live there. Animals hence leave those areas and look for other places where water is available. Sometimes during this relocation process, animals may die and disappear from Earth altogether. They go extinct.

However, the most serious outcome of the rising temperature is causing the ice in the north and south poles to melt. The resulting water then moves towards oceans and seas increasing their water level. When the water levels increase beyond certain points, it can flood our cities.

Increasing the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not just serious for humans, but also for fish. When oceans absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, it makes it hard for the corals to form their homes, the reef, and may cause the existing ones to dissolve in the ocean.

This also makes food for fish less available which affects their life cycle. And since millions of people depend on fish in their diet, they will be badly affected as well.

So what can we do?

Global warming imposes serious threats on our planet and we have to take action in order to minimize them and help make our planet a safer place for us and for the upcoming generations. Here are some actions which we can take every day to help save our planet.

Save energy

Since energy from fossil fuels is used to generate electricity to run our home appliances, we can help burn less fuel when we save power. Here are some steps to do that.

  1. Switching off lights when not in use.
  2. Reducing the temperature of the heating or cooling systems.
  3. Choosing energy efficient appliances.
  4. Using LED light bulbs.
  5. Pulling the plugs.
  6. Carpooling: instead of having five individuals in five cars, we can have five individuals in one car. Thus power consumption is reduced to 20%. Bingo!
  7. Walking and cycling: they are even healthier and more fun

Throw less food

When we throw food away and it goes rotten, it produces methane which is a greenhouse gas that intensifies global warming. We can minimize food waste by buying the exact amounts of food we eat and not more than that.

Buying less food also saves energy. This is because a lot of energy is used to grow, process, package, and ship the food to distant places.

Recycling

When we recycle, then we do not need to buy a lot of stuff. This in turn reduces their production and hence less fuel is burned.

Many of the devices we cannot live without anymore such as mobile phones and laptops emit carbon (C) during their manufacturing process. This carbon reacts with oxygen (O2) to produce carbon dioxide (CO2). This causes an increase in the global warming level. 

When we use these devices efficiently, unplug them when not in use, and get them repaired instead of buying new ones, we are helping save our planet.

Save water

Water requires a huge amount of energy to clean, purify, pump, and heat. So when we use less water, in turn we use less energy. 

Conclusion

Our atmosphere is one of the millions of miracles we are surrounded by. It is one thing that has started life on Earth, making me write this article to you now and making you able to read it. It has formed, changed, evolved, and transformed to be the way it is now, just like we grow from clumsy toddlers to full-grown and independent adults. 

In this long journey in our earthly atmosphere, we demonstrated how important it is and dived into the history of its formation and evolution which started 4.5 billion years ago. In this section, we have learned that the atmosphere has passed by three main stages: earliest, second, and third atmospheres which created the structure it has now.

Then we studied this structure in detail and looked into each of the five layers starting from the troposphere where we breathe and live and experience weather, the stratosphere where our guardian angel, the ozone layer, resides, the mesosphere which burns meteors, the thermosphere where the International Space Station, space shuttles, and satellites are, and finally the exosphere which extends so far up until it dissolves in outer space. 

Through this journey of the layers of the atmosphere, we introduced many different concepts such as how heat is transferred, what an atom is and what its components are, how ions form in the ionosphere, and how they create the beautiful aurora light as well.

Then we moved to study weather closely and learned how a small process such as the evaporation of water is responsible for a great deal of weather conditions such as humidity, cloud formation, rain and snow falls, and thunderstorms. And we also learned how lightning and thunder occur. 

Next, we discussed how the wind forms and where it comes from as well as wildfires, how dangerous they are, and what part humans have in starting them. 

Lastly, we moved to how we, humans, have caused the atmosphere to suffer by burning fossil fuels to run machines and how this expanded as technology developed. Burning fossil fuels creates air pollution and global warming which threaten our life. At the very end, we finished with some small actions which when carried on by every one of us, we can help preserve our beloved atmosphere and our planet as well.

So when you take a deep breath, or see a puffy fluffy cloud in the blue sky or extend your hand to feel the drizzles, remember that you are a part of this great, extremely accurate, complex, and beautiful system and that we need to preserve it in order to continue living happily and healthily, and allow our planet to continue evolving.

Without water, life would not exist. Imagine all the amount of water that we all use every day in our lives! Plants and animals also use water every day! Even our factories and machines need water to run on. So, how does water on Earth never run out?

The answer is, Earth has been recycling water ever since it was formed, which was over 4 billion years ago. Water on Earth moves between seas, land and air in an ongoing cycle called the water cycle. During its cycle, water changes its form. It can be in the form of liquid, gas or solid. 

There are four different processes that the water cycle goes through: evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection. Let’s learn about them in detail. 

1. Evaporation

The Sun heats up the water on Earth that is found in rivers, oceans and lakes. When the temperature of water rises, some of the water turns from liquid to gas. This gas is called water vapour, and the turning process is called “evaporation”. Evaporation also occurs in plants. Some water turns into vapour through the leaves of plants. This process is called transpiration. The water vapour rises up in the sky and settles in the atmosphere, then it gathers to form clouds. 

2. Condensation

Water vapour in the clouds starts to cool down. The air moves the clouds around the globe. When vapour is cool enough, it turns into water again, mostly as rain. The transition from gas to liquid is called “condensation”. So, condensation is the opposite of evaporation. 

3. Precipitation

When too much water vapour gets condensed, water drops in the clouds become too heavy for the air to hold. As a result, they fall down from the sky in the form of rain, sleet, snow or hail. The water falling process is called “precipitation”. 

4. Collection

The final part of the water cycle is called “collection”. Water that falls from the sky is collected in many ways, and then it will evaporate back into the air to begin the cycle all over again. 

Some water falls directly into oceans, rivers or lakes. Water that falls on the land may flow on the ground until it reaches oceans, rivers or lakes. This water is called “surface run-off”. If the water falls on plants, it may evaporate again from the leaves through transpiration, or it may soak into the soil. From the soil, water slowly moves through the ground until it reaches a river, a lake or an ocean.

In cold places, water that falls from the sky may turn into ice or glaciers. If the temperature rises, ice melts to liquid water and collects into any water body. 

So, this is how the water cycle goes:

Heat from the Sun causes water in oceans, lakes and rivers to evaporate and rise up to the atmosphere. Water from plants and trees also enters the atmosphere through the process of transpiration. As water vapour rises high in the sky, it forms clouds and it condenses. When a cloud becomes heavy with water, precipitation occurs. Then, water collects in oceans, lakes and rivers, and the cycle starts all over again.  

The Water Cycle

Why Is the Water Cycle Important?

The water cycle is very important because it ensures that water never runs out on Earth, so that all living organisms can survive. If water did not naturally recycle itself, we would run out of clean water, which is essential to life. In addition, the water cycle has an important role in balancing temperatures and weather patterns on Earth. 

Human Activities that Affect the Water Cycle

Humans are responsible for disrupting and changing the water cycle in numerous ways; for example:

  • The burning of fuels raises the Earth’s temperature. The increase of temperature causes an increase of evaporation and melting ice and glaciers.
  • Using pesticides and other chemicals for farming runs off into rivers and natural water resources and pollutes water.
  • Some emissions from industry cause acid rain.
  • Deforestation has a huge effect on the water cycle because, as we knew, trees release water vapor into the atmosphere through transpiration. So, if we cut down trees, less water evaporates, and then there is less rain.
  • Humans change the flow of water in many ways, such as using irrigation, damming lakes and rivers to generate electricity, and pulling water out of the ground in order to use it.
Deforestation affects the water cycle

15 Interesting Facts about the Water Cycle

  1. The water cycle is also known as the “hydrologic cycle”.
  2. Water can sometimes change into vapor from ice without first melting into liquid. This process is called “sublimation”.
  3. The driving energy of the water cycle comes from the Sun. When the Sun heats water on Earth, water evaporates and the cycle goes on.
  4. 90% of all the water that evaporates into the atmosphere is from oceans. 
  5. Water exists in three different states in the water cycle; liquid, gas and solid. The amount of water in each state varies, but the amount of all water on Earth remains the same.
  6. Every time water changes from one state to another, or when it moves from one place to another, it either produces or absorbs energy.
  7. About 97% of water on Earth is salty. This means that only 3% of the Earth’s water is freshwater. 2% of this freshwater is frozen in ice and glaciers. So, we only have access to about 1% of all the water on Earth.
  8. The atmosphere contains more freshwater than that in all the rivers on Earth combined.
  9. Water in ice caps and glaciers is the purest form of water available on Earth.
  10. About 90% of the ice on Earth exists in Antarctica.
  11. Glaciers cover about 10% of the Earth’s surface. In fact, the sea levels would go up by 70 meters if all the Earth’s glaciers melted today.
  12. Groundwater gathers salts and minerals from the soil during its journey to the ocean, which is part of the reason why the ocean water is salty.
  13. Ice is lighter than liquid water, and this is why ice floats in water.
  14. Even in industries, the water cycle is essential. For example, it may take about 4000 liters of water to produce a car.
  15. The human brain is made up of 75% water. Likewise, a living tree is 75% water.