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Study Guide

    Steve playing up-cycled drums

  • “Edu-tainment?” – Our future just may depend on it. Through popular music and urban dance, a sure inroad to our youth, Vocal Trash, “the voice for the trash”, uniquely promotes green awareness, sustainability, recycling and anti-bullying to students from coast to coast and globally.
  • The Cast – Making music in harmony with the environment. Vocal Trash is made up of young professionals that utilize their craft for meaningful and lasting results. A green minded troupe, with a social conscience, Vocal Trash asks students to come along and celebrate life, our world and its people. This green minded ensemble encourages one to recycle their imagination.
  • Teachers – We have created the following study guide to help make your student’s experience with the “THINK Program” as impactful as possible. For many, it will be their first time viewing a live theatrical production. We have learned that when teachers discuss the performance with their students, before and after the production, the experience is more significant and long lasting. Our study guide provides post performance discussion topics, as well as related facts. These are just suggestions; please feel free to create your own activities and areas for discussion. We hope you and your class enjoy the show!
  • Performance – Along with original music that deals with inspirational content, Vocal Trash also replaces iconic and popular song lyrics with positive influential subject matter. This concept allows a unique opportunity to reach young minds by harmoniously fusing music with social awareness. In between musical numbers, the troupe will briefly touch on interesting facts, figures and stats concerning the topic at hand. During the performance, VT utilizes an extensive amount of industrial re-used, re-purposed and up-cycled props for anecdotal, thought provoking ideas. The combination of recycled instruments, ie. gas can guitar, tool box guitar and up-right milk-urn bass, coupled with a percussion section made up of trash cans, metal lids, plastic water jugs and other industrial items, lends itself to a unique and thought provoking presentation.

    Kelsey with fans

    Add singing and break-dancing to the mix and you’ve got a powerfully effective tool for encouraging young minds to significantly use their imagination as it relates to a sustainable eco-friendly lifestyle. The group incorporates items that would historically end up in landfills, demonstrating how objects that, at first glance, appear to be trash but can be made into something useful. Also, topics such as “clean energy” through proper nutrition and no drugs are addressed, as well as no bullying messages are emphasized throughout every performance.

  • Post Performance – Below, we’ve provided some basic “talking points” to go over and review with your students after the performance. These facts, stats and figures will help students connect the awareness factor, provided by our “THINK Program”, with hard evidence, provided by, you, the teacher.
  • Bullying Statement – Vocal Trash believes in a caring, supportive environment in which individuals are encouraged and challenged to develop their strengths, interests, and talents.


  • A used aluminum can is recycled, and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
  • Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
  • More aluminum goes into beverage cans than any other product.
  • Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.
  • Larry playing up-cycled guitar

  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!
  • There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled.
  • We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year.
  • At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold!
  • A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel. In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!


  • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year!
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
  • Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.


  • Every month, we throw out enough glass bottles and jars to fill up a giant skyscraper. All of these jars are recyclable!
  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.
  • A modern glass bottle would take 4000 years or more to decompose — and even longer if it’s in the landfill.
  • Mining and transporting raw materials for glass produces about 385 pounds of waste for every ton of glass that is made. If recycled glass is substituted for half of the raw materials, the waste is cut by more than 80%.


  • To produce each week’s Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down.
  • Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
  • If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!
  • If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.
  • If you had a 15-year-old tree and made it into paper grocery bags, you’d get about 700 of them. A busy supermarket could use all of them in under an hour! This means in one year, one supermarket can go through over 6 million paper bags! Imagine how many supermarkets there are just in the United States!!!
  • The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year!
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • Americans use 85,000,000 tons of paper a year; about 680 pounds per person.

The cast after a performance

Solid Waste and Landfills

  • About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material!
  • Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted.
  • The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.
  • The highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio (near Cincinnati) is “Mount Rumpke.” It is actually a mountain of trash at the Rumpke sanitary landfill towering 1045 ft. above sea level.
  • The US population discards each year 16,000,000,000 diapers, 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, 220,000,000 car tires, and enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over.
  • Out of every $10 spent buying things, $1 (10%) goes for packaging that is thrown away. Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.
  • On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.

Miscellaneous Recycling Facts

  • An estimated 80,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover over 50 acres of space — that’s almost 40 football fields. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
  • Rain forests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute!
  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
  • Motor oil never wears out, it just gets dirty. Oil can be recycled, re-refined and used again, reducing our reliance on imported oil.
  • On average, each one of us produces 4.4 pounds of solid waste each day. This adds up to almost a ton of trash per person, per year.


What's recyclable

What’s Recyclable:

  • Plastics marked #1 through #7 (look on the bottom – red plastic cups are #6, so they’re ok)
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard (corrugated boxes, cereal & cracker boxes, etc)
  • Paper grocery bags
  • Magazines, junk mail, stationary and envelopes (even window envelopes are ok)
  • Glass bottles & jars (empty & rinsed)
  • Aluminum/tin cans, foil, trays (again, rinse them out first)
  • All plastic food containers marked #1 & #2
  • Microwave food trays

What's not recyclable

What’s Not:

  • Plastic wrap
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Pizza boxes (because of the grease)
  • All wax laminated cartons/containers (milk and juice cartons)
  • Styrofoam (including disposable coffee cups)
  • Frozen/microwave food boxes (trays are ok)
  • Wax cereal/cracker box liners
  • Paper towels, napkins, tissue paper
  • Paper plates, soiled paper
  • Aluminum foil boxes
  • Fast food wrappers
  • Food waste

Remember, if an item is covered in food, it is not recyclable. Food is one of the worst contaminants in the recycling process, and some estimates put the costs of irresponsible contamination in the neighborhood of $700 million per year industry-wide. So please be sure to rinse out cups, cans, jars, etc before throwing them in the bin. Thank you!

Theater Etiquette

Please review the LOOK and LISTEN information below with your students to help make your theater experience the best it can be.

Attending a live performance of THINK… Before You Throw It Away will be interesting and enjoyable for everyone if you remember to-

Look for facial expressions to help you understand what the actors are feeling.

Listen in order to understand the communication between the actors. The performers in THINK need help from you, the audience. You are an important part of the play. Being an audience member in a theater is different from watching a movie or television show. The performers are in the same room with you and are affected by what you do. To do their best, the performers need you to watch and listen closely. Audience members also depend on your quiet attention during the performance so that they can enjoy their theater experience as well.

Please review the PROCEDURES information below to help your theater visit go smoothly.


Please bring a minimum of one adult chaperone for every fifteen students. Please remind chaperones that the theater etiquette they model speaks volumes to your students.

Prepare your students to enter the theater in single file in order of seating. Position your chaperones to maximize adult supervision of your group.