25 educational resources to help kids with the war on waste
Every year, Australians generate millions of tonnes of waste in food, fashion, packaging and more. In the last 20 years our population has grown by 28 per cent, but the amount of waste we produce has increased 170 per cent.
In the 1960s, Australians were considered among the best in the world when it came to dealing with waste. Many recycling programs – especially those involving paper and newspaper – were pioneered in Australia. And the launch of the Keep Australia Beautiful campaign in the late-1960s and 1970s put the issue of waste at the forefront of the national consciousness.
What has changed?
Here are 25 educational resources to help students take a critical look at household, retail and farming waste, helping them have an active role in the issue!
1. What happens to the rubbish we throw away?
In this game, students meet four students who use or dispose of their plastic lunch bags in different ways. Predict where the bags might end up, find out how they could affect the environment and come up with solutions. (Years 3, 4)
2. How does recycling work?
Discover why plastic is harmful to the environment and how recycling helps to reduce its impact. Watch as Jon Dee, co-founder of Planet Ark, discusses the problem with plastic and sorts a bag of household waste to identify what can be recycled. (Year 4)
3. Recycling Topic
This Topic has more than thirty resources to help kids learn about recycling. There are both primary and secondary resources for geography, science and even the arts. (Years K-10)
4. Reducing landfill waste
In 1994 South Australia introduced a waste levy to manage landfill waste. Find out how it affected waste disposal and a local landfill site. (Years 7, 10)
5. What happens when a landfill site is full?
6. Avoiding landfill
This game teaches kids about options for dealing with waste by getting them to reduce an average pile of rubbish. It helps students think about the consequences of sending large volumes of rubbish to landfill sites. (Years 5, 10)
7. Solving the problem of e-waste
The rapid rate of technological change has meant that Australia is one of the world's largest producers of e-waste (electronic waste). Watch how various community groups are working together to find a solution to this growing problem. (Years 9, 10)
8. E-waste, recycling, and sustainability
What happens when you try to recycle e-waste? Learn about the physics of recycling. Find out where e-waste comes from, and the recycling and sustainability challenge it poses. (Years 9, 10)
9. Recycle e-waste to raise money for food charities
Craig Reucassel visits some social entrepreneurs who are recycling e-waste, not only to keep it from going into landfills, but also to generate revenue to help fund food charities. (Years 4,7)
10. Turning rubbish into animals
Recycling can take many forms. Watch this video to discover how one artist in tropical north Queensland uses rubbish found on beaches to create beautiful and thought-provoking artworks. (Years 4, 7, 9)
11. Trash to treasure with Joost the waste-buster
Joost Bakker is committed to eliminating waste. Find out about his recyclable house, pop-up cafes and some of his other projects, and hear his big plans for safeguarding our future. (Years 5, 9)
12. Using the food we don't eat
In Australia there has been a trend of throwing out food. Find out what can be done to connect those who need food support with organisations that commonly dispose of food that’s still edible? (Year 9)
13. Food wastage
Global population is set to reach over nine billion by 2050, which will increase demand for food by 70 per cent. Find out what you can do to consume food more responsibly and sustainably, and how we might rescue food that would otherwise go to waste. (Years 4, 9)
14. Food for thought
This animated clip explains the problems facing food security (sufficient access to safe and nutritious food). It also suggests some solutions, such as waste management practices and emerging technologies. (Years 7, 8, 9)
15. Build a worm farm at school
What's a good way to create a worm farm in your school yard? Gardening Australia explains some great composting ideas and how to create a worm farm and chicken house. (Years 3, 4)
16. The life in dirt
Learn how to make compost! Soil is a "life-support system" for plants. Find out what it’s made of and what lives within it. (Years 4, 6)
Sustainable school gardens
17. Sustainable school gardens
Pull on your gumboots and prepare to get muddy! Together with Costa Georgiadis and Gardening Australia, we're digging sustainable school gardens and finding the best ways to grow your own food! (Years 4, 5, 6)
18. What on earth is vermicast?
Learn about vermicast (worm manure)! Worms gobble up our organic waste material, which would otherwise go to landfill, and turn it into good healthy soil. Find out the environmental benefits of this. (Year 4)
19. Going green at school
What does your school do to be environmentally friendly? In this article, read about ten examples from schools around Australia with gardening, recycling and sustainable-transport programs.
20. Sustainable gardens
Find out about gardens and how to grow your own food with the many great resources in this Topic. Learn how to set up a school garden and find out some great tips to get a successful harvest. (Primary and Secondary)
21. Sustainable resource use
This Topic contains a bunch of resources that explores how different people, communities, companies and cities are using resources sustainably. (Primary and Secondary)
Reusing household waste
22. Where does wastewater go?
Visit a wastewater treatment plant with comedian Peter Rowsthorn to find out where your wastewater goes after it’s flushed down the drain. See how it’s cleaned before it is released back into the environment. (Year 7)
23. Cash for cans
In this video, hear from Western Australians who would like the state government to introduce a 10-cent refund on cans and bottles – to encourage people to recycle. And find out why not everyone is happy with this proposal. (Year 4)
24. Putting a cap on bottled water
In the past, nearly all the water we drank came straight out of a tap, but not anymore. Some environmental groups have been pushing for plastic bottles to be banned. Learn about the battle between conservation and convenience. (Years 9, 10)
25. Reducing plastic bag use
Boomerang Bags came about when a group of people in a small community decided to do something to reduce plastic bag usage. Find out how they’re making something useful from unwanted and discarded items. (Years 4, 7)