Previous: Nails: Your Human Claws
Next: Be Prepared for Anything! | Emergency Kit for Kids



View count:590,120
Last sync:2024-07-10 09:30


Citation formatting is not guaranteed to be accurate.
MLA Full: "How Plastic Hurts the World." YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 1 May 2018,
MLA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2018)
APA Full: SciShow Kids. (2018, May 1). How Plastic Hurts the World [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (SciShow Kids, 2018)
Chicago Full: SciShow Kids, "How Plastic Hurts the World.", May 1, 2018, YouTube, 04:22,
Recycling trash is one really important way that we can help the Earth stay clean! It's much better to recycle things than throw them away, but it's super important to recycle plastic! Jessi is here to tell you why!

Love SciShow Kids and want to help support it? Become a patron on Patreon:
Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet?

I don’t know about you, but I like our planet a lot!

And one of the easiest ways we can help protect the Earth is by recycling. That’s where instead of throwing things like plastic in the trash, you put them in a special bin so they go to a kind of factory to be reused.

You’ve probably recycled things like plastic bottles before. There might even be a recycling bin in the room you’re in right now! Recycling is important because it helps keep the Earth clean, especially from trash made of plastic. [Squeaks squeaks].

That’s a good question! People are always talking about how important it is to recycle plastic, but Squeaks wants to know why plastic is such a problem in the first place. Why do we recycle things made of plastic, but it’s not as important to find ways to recycle other types of materials, like wood?

The main reason is that plastic is actually really new … and we use tons of it. The type of plastic we use to make stuff was invented by people only about a hundred years ago! Before that, people mostly made things out of materials you can find naturally on Earth, like wood or metal.

There were no plastic bottles, no plastic bags … no plastic anything! A hundred years might seem like a really long time for plastic to have been around. But compared to something natural like wood, that’s been around for hundreds of millions of years, it’s not very long at all!

When plastic was first invented by scientists, people thought it was awesome because it was easy to bend into shape, didn’t break easily like glass does, and could hold water without leaking. Soon, they started using it to make all kinds of things, from plastic bottles and bags to plastic chairs and pipes. But then, scientists realized that there was a big problem: plastic never really goes away, even when you throw it out.

When you put something in the trash, it doesn’t just disappear — it has to go somewhere. Most of the time, the garbage truck takes it to a place called a landfill, which is basically a giant hole in the ground. Once they’re in a landfill, most materials that come from the Earth, like wood, will soon break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they’re basically gone.

A wooden chair can take around 10 years to break down, and some types of clothes might only take a few months. But a plastic bottle can take almost 500 years to go away. And a plastic bag can take a thousand years.

Plastic was so useful that people were starting to make more and more things with it — especially things like plastic bottles or cups that you were only meant to use once before throwing them away. That meant there was more and more plastic trash piling up … trash that was going to stick around for hundreds of years. Even worse, plastic trash can blow away from garbage trucks or landfills and end up in the ocean.

That’s bad because it makes the ocean dirty and polluted, when it’s supposed to be nice clean water. But it’s also a problem because plastic can hurt the animals living in the ocean, like whales and fish. If they swallow too much plastic, either by accident or because they think it’s food, it can kill them.

They can also get trapped in things like the plastic rings that hold cans together. [Squeaks squeaks]. It is really sad, Squeaks. But now that we know plastic is such a big problem, there are things we can do to help protect the animals and the Earth.

One thing we can do is try to use less plastic — for example, instead of getting a bunch of new plastic bags to carry their groceries every time they go food shopping, a lot of people decide to use paper bags, or fabric bags that they can reuse. And you know what else we can do? [Squeaks squeaks]. That’s right — we can recycle!

When you recycle things like plastic cups and bottles, companies take the old plastic and reshape it into something new — like another bottle. That way, instead of making more and more plastic that ends up in landfills or the ocean, we can just keep using the plastic we already have. Overall, people still have a lot of work to do to make sure we aren’t wasting plastic and to clean up what’s already in the oceans.

But by using as little plastic as we can and putting what we do use in the recycling bin, we can each do our part to help our planet. Thanks for joining us! If you want to keep learning and having fun with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort!