Cerritos College Ecological Footprint and Solid Waste Management Paper

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You will be calculating you ecological footprint

  1. Using the links below, calculate your footprint living in the US
  2. Then calculate your footprint using the same responses as above, but change country

I am not judging you resource use. 


  • Questions:
    • -What is an ecological footprint measuring
    • -What is your footprint in the US and a country of your choice
    • -Use the first calculator – It’s just for the US
    • -Then use the second calculator
    • -Are the two calculators predict the same value?
    • -Why is the US footprint so much higher
    • -What are things you can do to lower your footprint
    • -Closing thoughts
    • Footprint Calculator (Links to an external site.) for just the USFootprint Calculator for the US and another country (Links to an external site.)

Part 2 – Trash – 15 points

  • Follow all the instructions
  • Collect data for solid waste generation
  • Data Analysis 
  • Determination of Solid Waste “stream”
  • Write a reflection (couple of sentences) on this activity and what did you learn – Big Picture


We all generate solid waste, trash. It’s way of life. We consume stuff and make trash. The goal of this activity is for you to determine the kind and amount of trash you (or family) generates. You will be collecting data, conduct a data analysis, determine where the trash is going and lastly, what can you do to reduce the trash that is generated. 


  1. Log the solid waste (trash) for 5 days. Put a data sheet next to the trash can and log what trash is being “thrown away”. An example Data Sheet is below
  2. You will be logging how many items are thrown away is different categories. It’s too hard to weight everything so we are just going to count them up.
  3. After 5 days add up the items and divide by the number of people in your house. We need to standardize the data. The more people the more is thrown away. The goal is a per person account.
  4. Make a graph of the data. Example below. It can be a bar graph or a pie chart. You choose.
  5. Look at your trash data. It’s all heading to the landfill. Some of it is organic waste, some of it is recyclable, some of it is plastic and will be in the landfill forever.  Go ahead and group you trash into groups – Food, Things that will decompose, Things that will not decompose. Make a pie chart.
  6. Compare your trash with what an average person throws away. There are many ways to do this; do a internet search for “average trash by category generated in US” and there will be many websites that have this data. You are counting items,  most of these sites uses weights, but you will able to make a basic comparison of what you generated and what an average person generates. 
  7. Write a reflection on what you learned, how you compare to the average person and most importantly any ideas or suggestions to reduce the amount trash you generate.

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