Single Use Plastic Activity

Suitable for: Early Years, Primary    

Even though a large part of the plastic that we use can go into the recycling bin, the collection of these bins might be altered as some local authorities won’t have the usual number of people working, and some waste centres will be closed. So what better time to look into alternatives to recycling!

You'll need:

  • Paper
  • Pen or Pencil 

Mild: Go around your home looking at products that are made of or packaged in plastic that will be only useful during the life of the product. That is what is called ‘single-use plastic’. Examples of this are toothpaste tubs, plastic toothbrushes and yogurt pots. Count how many different types of single-use plastic products or containers can you find at home.

Medium: Go around your home and make a list of all the different products you can find that are made of or packaged in single use plastic. Keep a record for each room: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. Where in your house did you find the most? Show your findings in a graph where in the horizontal axis you will write the type of room, and in the vertical axis you will write the number of types of products. Don’t worry about how many of the same product, just describe how many different types of products made of or packaged in single-use plastic in each room.

Spicy: Go around your home and make a list of all the different products you can find that are made of or packaged in single-use plastic. Organise your list by room (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc). Looking at your list, can you find an alternative for any of these products that would produce less or no plastic waste at all? An example of this is switching from a plastic toothbrush to one made of bamboo or purchasing butter wrapped in paper instead of in a plastic tub. Show your list to the rest of your family and discuss your findings and alternatives. Decide as a family if you would like to look for alternatives for some of them, maybe challenging yourselves to introduce one change per month.

Extension: Have a look at the Global Waste Trade, which describes how developed countries pay developing nations to take their rubbish and recyclable waste. Look at the impacts on the health of people and the environment and reflect on the impact that this practice has on people from developing nations. You can write your findings in the shape of an article, that could be published in your school’s newsletter, or a PowerPoint, that could be shared later on with the rest of your school. Here is one article that can help you get started. Send your article in to Young Reporters to be published.

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