Cool Ways to Re-use What You Think of As Junk

I learned today what a soda bottle looks like when it’s shipped to the company to be filled. It’s called a preform. When they fall on the manufacturing floor, they become unsanitary and cannot be used for consumables. They are recycled or shipped to a place such as RAFT, which uses them to make educational kits. They look like test tubes with screw tops and make excellent vials for storing small items (like beads) or using in basic science experiments (such as demonstrating how a seed germinates).

I also spent several hours using a paper cutter to cut the flaps off three-ring binders; these binders (some of them almost brand new) are discarded by the truckload by corporations. Rather than pile up in a landfill, RAFT has a creative use for them. The spine is put into recycling. The two flaps are then used to create a science kit called a “shake table.” Four small rubber balls are placed between the binder pieces and bound together by rubber bands on each side. Students are then asked to build a structure that sits on the platform that can withstand movement. The “shake table” when jiggled demonstrates earthquake tremors and is useful in teaching children about earth science.

I would love to see RAFT become a nationwide resource for educators. It started as one teacher’s idea to help other teachers get inexpensive supplies for hands-on teaching. Teachers typically spend $1,500 of their own money at retail stores each year to buy supplies for their students and classrooms; at RAFT they can get the same materials for $200.

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2 Comments on “Cool Ways to Re-use What You Think of As Junk”

  1. endment Says:

    thanks for the great post and the excellent link

  2. William Sackinger Says:

    Your comment on the soda pop preform brings to mind that the inventor and developer of the preform was Clifton Thomas (Tom) Sackinger, our cousin. He worked for duPont, all of his life, and was a mechanical engineer assigned to be project engineer on the project of making these plastic soda pop bottles. As you can see, he was very successful, technically. One side effect was that, at his job, he generated vast quantities of coca cola in these new bottles, and so that it did not go to waste, he co-opted his family into consuming it. A child’s dream…

    Tom died of cancer in February 1988 at the age of 53.

    Rest in Peace
    Bill