There's no better way to get the big picture of how much waste people make than by seeing where it all ends up. Garbage doesn't just disappear. Where does it go in your community?
Many solid waste facilities offer tours for schools. Call your local facility or local government office of solid waste to find out if there are any tours in your area. Generally, the tour consists of a presentation to the students about how a landfill is built and maintained. They also typically discuss how some garbage is diverted to recycling facilities, as well as what happens when a landfill becomes full. The tour ends with a bus ride through the dump. It is truly a field trip your class will never forget. Seeing the size of landfills and the amount of garbage gives people a sense of why it's so important to reduce waste.
Government Garbage Control
You can call your city, county, or state government offices to talk to someone about solid waste and pollution control. Take the children to the selected government office to see where the region's waste issues are addressed. How much is created each year? What's in it and how much? What do they do with it? What kinds of programs do they have to try to reduce waste? Do they have materials the students can take home to their parents? Have staff talk about their individual jobs and projects. You can even have the students break up into small groups and interview different staff people. When you return to the classroom, they can teach one another about what they learned.