Waste Not

Press Pause on Plastic Pollution

Do you ever wonder what happens to plastic items once we have used them and throw them away? Unfortunately, when it comes to plastic, it never really disappears.

Often, our plastic waste ends up in places it shouldn’t be like the ocean, other waterways, ecosystems or landfills. And most plastic is thrown away without being recycled – a recent study found that just 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled.

There is hope! This waste audit will help you track your single-use plastic consumption and waste.  Your findings will help you influence your community (school, place of worship, neighborhood, friend group etc.) to make better choices when it comes to plastic consumption and addressing plastic pollution.

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Do the Plastic Waste Audit
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Waste Audit-Activity – Supplies You Will Need:

  • Permission from an adult to participate in the waste sorting activity
  • Gloves (Put these on before sorting through waste to protect your hands!)
  • A group of friends to help you sort what you find!

How to do it:

  • With your group, collect one day’s worth of plastic waste from a place in your community (your home, school, place of worship, work etc.) and lay the items out in front of you onto a protected and covered space (tarp, towel, etc).
  • Begin sorting (or classifying) items into piles (Can this be recycled? Is this something that cannot be recycled?)
  • Once you’ve finished tallying your plastic waste, answer the questions in our Quiz!

Results

  • Looking at your results, which type of plastic do you see the most of? How much of the plastic was recyclable? Was much of the plastic waste something that cannot be recycled ? What were the most commonly thrown away items?
  • Brainstorm ideas to reduce the amount of waste in your home and share your ideas with a friend! Create a list of alternatives to commonly used plastics. Is there something else you can use in the future to replace the types of plastic you found being thrown away? Write it down and tell us what you come up with on social using the hashtag #RS1click @rootsandshoots!

Finally, to complete the exercise, return non-recyclables to garbage cans, sort recyclables into recycling bins.

Do This Activity as Your Roots & Shoots Project!

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