My Garbology

Website review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
My Garbology Website Poster Image
Delightfully fun talking trash game promotes conservation.

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Educational Value

Kids can learn some details about how the current global material economy works: how much water it takes to grow a single cotton t-shirt, what happens when plastic bags get loose in the environment, and how much energy can be recovered by recycling cell phones. While the site is widely ap-peel-ing (can't resist a banana joke!), the hints that follow each learning segment could be fleshed out a little better so that kids will have more clear, actionable ideas to take away. My Garbology blends clever antics with earth-friendly waste choices smoothly and concisely.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Garbology is a short and sweet waste-sorting game that's a great intro to the world of environmental awareness. Kids of nearly any age can learn from the cute little cans, who teach you which type of trash goes into which container and why. It's as adorable as garbage can get. During gameplay, various narrators explain resource use and what kids can accomplish for the environment through everyday choices. You really can't go wrong with this step-by-step game that has text, audio, and feedback that helps kids go green.

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What's it about?

Four hungry trash bins, six waste items, six informational animations, six simple Earth-friendly solutions. What could be easier? Kids drag and drop a plastic bottle, T-shirt, or cell phone into the appropriate bin: Reuse, Compost, Recycle, or Landfill. Bins spit out incorrect choices and chew and swallow correct ones with the occasional grin, cool shades, or a celebratory cockroach cheer. After a right answer (banana peel into the compost bin, for example), kids watch a short animation, advancing the story with a "next" button. You can go back, turn the music off and on, or watch in full-screen mode.

Is it any good?

Where should my waste go? It's a question we all ask ourselves every day. With this adorable set of wastebins and charming pen-and-ink animations, even teens will enjoy learning facts like how much oil it takes to produce a single plastic water bottle or that trashed electronics can leak lead, cadmium, and lithium. There's low commitment with quick, yet essential messages. Younger kids might not get all the percentages and details, but they'll get the general idea and have fun watching "the F.B.I. take down a banana peel!" (In this case, "F.B.I." stands for "Fungus, Bacteria, and Invertebrates.")

Although almost all the text has accompanying audio, a few tidbits here and there get left out -- in particular, the hints for changed behaviors do not have audio, lessening the overall impact. Full audio also would give younger and vision-impaired kids complete access. More and multiple sets of garbage would give kids a deeper experience with all sorts of waste, and the ability to skip forward through the animations would be nice, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • What other items that aren't featured on the site could be reused, composted, or recycled?

  • Suggest starting a family compost pile. Split up jobs such as researching designs, building, finding small buckets for the kitchen, and turning the pile.

  • Ask how life would change for your family if all these trash items were sorted correctly in the future. How would it impact the environment?

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