Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. This familiar mantra is one way Americans have learned how to go green, but it’s also the inspiration for eco exhibits and museums around the country that make discovering information on how to reduce our footprints fun. Check out these five favorite institutions all about recycling:
Delaware Solid Waste Authority Environmental Education Building, New Castle, Del.
What happens to your trash after it’s picked up from your curb? What about the materials in your recycling bin? This recycling museum and education center addresses all that and more with a bevy of interactive exhibits and displays. At the Call2Recycle video kiosk, visitors can follow the life of a rechargeable battery as it’s dropped in the recycling bin and upcycled into a new product. Other exhibits focus on everything from how a landfill works to how recyclables are sorted in the waste authority facility.
Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority Trash Museum, Hartford, Conn.
Visitors start at the Temple of Trash in this 6,500-square-foot Trash Museum to learn what’s wrong with old-fashioned disposal methods, then they make their way to a group of exhibits all about green, modern-day solutions: recycling, turning garbage into energy and reducing trash output. Trash Museum guests can also watch as real paper products, cans and bottles are sorted and packaged in the facility before being shipped off to be made into new products. Don’t miss the handy reusable shopping bags sold in the gift shop.
Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, Calif.
Orange County Waste & Recycling teamed up with this science museum to create a family-friendly, environmentally themed exhibit called Eco Challenge. Visitors learn the difference between recyclables, hazardous materials, electronic waste, yard materials and landfill trash in Race to Recycle, and they identify eco-friendly packaging at the grocery-themed Discovery Market. Meanwhile, in the Eco Garage, kids figure out how to dispose of certain household items like paint, batteries and motor oil.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y.
New York’s LEED-certified Brooklyn Children’s Museum — the first green museum in the state — features a variety of eco-focused exhibits and programs as part of its Green Threads initiative. At a hands-on recycling exhibit, kids can match pictures of various recycling stages together to see what happens to a tire or pair of jeans. Elsewhere, children can shine a light on a mini solar panel, learn about geothermal energy, find out how much water gets used during a bath, and figure out why bamboo is such a green choice.
Green Revolution, multiple locations
In partnership with Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service has created Green Revolution, a virtual exhibit about recycling, upcycling, composting, reducing waste and shrinking your carbon footprint. The exhibit has been touring the country since 2010 to give people the chance to experience Green Revolution in person, and museums throughout the United States are also adapting and installing the eco exhibits for their institutions.