Project Description


Suitable for Primary (1-4)

Victorian Curriculum Links:
F-2: (VCSSU045)(VCSSU044)
3-4: (VCSSU056)(VCSSU060)
Design & Technologies
3-4: (VCDSTC027)
5-6: (VCDSTC037)

Activity Description
The Waste Sort activity raises awareness about the ‘end of life’ of products. It supports knowledge of the alternatives to landfill, including recycling and reusing. Students look at a range of common objects/materials and are asked to find two or three different ways of sorting them.

Key Concepts

5Rs (Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Plastics, Landfill

Key Learning Intentions

1. Understand ways to minimise waste through the application of the 5Rs
2. Identify materials that can be reused or recycled into new products
3. Sort and categorise materials on the basis of observable properties such as texture and flexibilitys

Suggestions for Assessment
1. Participation in the Waste Breakdown activity
2. Participation in the Discussion questions above

1. Waste Sort
Empty out the various waste items onto the table. Look through and explore different and similar characteristics of the various items. You need to decide on an approach to sorting these materials. How could you categorise them into different groups?

2. Discussion
1. Which way did you choose to sort your items? Why?
2. How can you include waste education in our curriculum?
3. How could we improve our waste systems at school to reduce our waste to landfill?

Material Required
For this activity you will need a range of collected and cleaned waste materials for sorting. Below are some suggestions:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Hard plastic (plastic bottles, yoghurt and milk containers, old shampoo bottles, etc.)
  • Soft plastics (chip packets, glad wrap, etc.)
  • Aluminium foil and cans
  • Steel cans
  • Glass (or pictures of glass if safer)
  • Electronic items (old phone cords, keyboards, batteries, etc.)
  • Cloth (old clothing, etc.)
  • Think broadly too about things we throw out – stationary, grass cuttings, jewellery, make up, etc.

Suggested ResourceSmart Schools Module Links
Undertaking the activity as described above links to the ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – actions B1.2, B1.3

Below is a list of extension activities that link to additional actions of the Waste module:

1. Students create easy-to-follow bin signage to encourage correct waste sorting and recycling at school (ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – actions A2.6, A7.7)
2. Students undertake a bin audit of the school. Students report back to the whole school on contamination and opportunities for reducing waste going to landfill (ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – actions A1.1 C2.1, C2.2)ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – actions C3.3, A6.3)
3. Students run an upcycling competition where commonly discarded waste items are repurposed in a creative and/or functional way (ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – action B1.3)
4. Students run a Nude Food lunch day at school to raise awareness around packaging and waste.
Follow up with a whole school community survey to investigate opportunities to hold these on an ongoing basis (ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – actions A3.1, A3.2, B1.4, C1.2, C1.4, C2.1)
5. Invite local indigenous group/s to share their perspectives on waste from an environmental and historical point of view (ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – actions B1.5, B1.6)
6. Students write a learning story about key findings of the activity and share in your school’s newsletter and website (ResourceSmart Schools Waste Module – actions C1.1, C1.3)