2-7 The Thing From Nature vs. The Thing Returns
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Complete the chart below by guessing how much pollution enters the environment when aluminum cans are made from natural resources. Assign each step: 8-10 points if you think the pollution highly impacts the environment; 4-7 points if you think the pollution moderately impacts the environment; or 1-3 points if you think the pollution has a low impact on the environment. Use your best judgment - some processes may affect only one part of the environment, while others may affect more than one part.
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You do not need to complete this assignment if you completed the paper version in class!
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StepProcessLand pointsAir pointsWater points
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1Aluminum is made from the mineral bauxite, which is found deep in the Earth's crust. Bauxite is often mined in other countries, using big machines that strip aside plants and soil.
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2The bauxite ore is shipped to the United States in trucks, ships and railroad cars to processing plants.
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3Large electric currents are used at the processing plant to separate the oxygen from the aluminum. The rest of the ore is thrown away.
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4The aluminum is heated at very high temperatures and poured into large blocks or "ingots". Water is used to help cool the aluminum. The water, which may be very hot, enters streams or lakes.
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5The aluminum ingots are transported to another processing plant in trucks or railroad cars.
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6Aluminum ingots are coiled into long sheets of aluminum by machine. These coiled sheets will be used to make beverage cans.
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7Aluminum sheets are coated with a protective chemical. Some chemicals spill on the floor, which is cleaned with soap and water.
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8The aluminum goes through a large, electric cutting machine that will shape the can. Scraps may fall on the floor. The scraps will be thrown away or recycled.
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9Aluminum cans are shipped to a printing plant in trucks or railroad cars.
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10Cans are printed with ink and transported in trucks or railroad cars to a beverage plant.
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11Cans are filled and shipped to stores by trucks or railroad cars.
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12Consumers buy products in aluminum cans. They use the product and throw away the cans. A truck takes the garbage to a landfill where it is covered with dirt.
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Total Points000
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