Activities: Quick, little preparation required
Read The Paper Bag Prince by Colin Thompson (Red Fox Picture Books) to your class. Follow this reading with a class discussion about the issues of rubbish and waste.
Quick maths activity
Plastic bags take 1 second to make, are used an average for 20 minutes and take over 100 years to degrade. Set problems to investigate these proportions. For example, what proportion of the time it will be used does it take to manufacture the plastic bag? How many times longer will it take to degrade and disappear than it was used for?
What is in our bin?
Carry out an audit of what is placed in the class bin over the course of a week. You can have a different pair of children recording this each day or half-day. At the end of the week sort the data into categories – eg paper, pencil sharpening, drinks container etc. Discuss as a class how you can reduce, re-use or recycle any of this waste and also consider if measures could be taken to not produce the waste in the first place.
Set up classroom composting
Provide a compost bin in your classroom and establish monitors to empty it each day into a larger compost bin out in the school grounds. For guidance see:http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/quickstartguide.html
Recycling at home
Lead a discussion about recycling, the following points could be mentioned:
Who recycles at home? What do they recycle? Where do they recycle it?
Who knows what happens to things once they have been recycled, give some examples, eg newspaper – toilet rolls, glass bottles – glass bottles, plastic bottles – fleece jackets. If possible, bring some examples of recycled products to class.
Discuss why it’s a good thing to recycle, eg landfill space, resource use.