Waste-Free Lunch 2013
During Waste Reduction Week 2013 (and every day!), we are encouraging schools across the province to have their students participate in a waste-free lunch. Please see the attached information sheet and sample letter for parents to help you on your way!
Method : Have the students write a limerick-style poem about reducing waste. Encourage them to incorporate topics like the 3Rs or to focus on waste reduction in a specific setting: at home, at school, at work, etc. Students can visit www.saskwastereduction.ca/wrw and check out the various pages for waste reduction tips that might provide inspiration. Also see the national website, wrwcanada.com.
Option: Teachers may review the limericks and send in their favourites. The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council will feature some of them on its website (www.saskwastereduction.ca) and in its newsletter. E-mail limericks to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include whatever amount of information about the student author that your school is comfortable with: i.e. grade, first name, last name, name of school.
Curriculum Fit : Grade 5 Language Arts
Grade 5 Resources / Environment Units
|There was a young girl from Craik
Who wanted to eat some cake
No plates from paper
For this little caper
She used real plates, not fake
|A charming young chap from Delisle
Started a composting pile
He put grass clippings in
And remarked with a grin
“Now I have a green lifestyle”
The first of the Three Rs is “Reduce” - in other words, you can choose alternative products that create less waste. Advertising has a huge effect on our purchasing practices and often encourages us to make poor choices. What if ads told us the truth about products?
Materials needed : Blank paper (8.5x11), drawing utensils, collage materials (old magazines, newspapers, flyers, etc.), glue and scissors.
Method : Have each student identify a product that is obviously designed to be wasteful (i.e. all or part of it is disposable and probably not recyclable). Then have students think of alternative products or methods which would produce little or no waste in comparison.
Examples: disposable razors vs reusable razor blades, individually wrapped snacks vs reusable containers, throwaway makeup removers vs washcloths
Based on these contrasting products, have students design a print ad which criticizes the wasteful product and promotes the reusable/durable alternative. The ads can be drawn by hand and incorporate elements of collage.
- How does advertising convince us to buy wasteful products?
- How do you think we would behave if the waste-producing aspects of every product had to be identified?
Curriculum Fit : Grade 10: Art
Waste Tracking in the Classroom
What Would Happen if Nobody Picked up the Garbage?
Materials needed : 3 or 4 small garbage cans or plastic tubs. Labels for each container.
Method : At the start of Waste Reduction Week (October 15 th) set up enough bins in your classroom to sort the garbage made by students (i.e. separate bins for paper, plastic, garbage etc.). Label them appropriately so that students know how to sort the waste made over the coming week.
- Use fairly small containers to remind students how quickly they fill up.
- Do not have the bins emptied by the caretaker until the following week.
On Friday discuss with the students what has been collected:
- Which bin is the most full? Why?
- What would happen if there was nobody or nowhere to take the
- Would our habits have to change?
- Is it better to recycle all the waste, or not produce it in the first
- place? (remember that REDUCE is the first R!!)
Curriculum Fit: Any homeroom class can do it for the week.
Waste Reduction Rap
Materials needed: paper and pens.
Method: In small groups (3 or 4 students), have students write a short rap about a Waste Reduction Week theme. They can check out the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council website (www.saskwastereduction.ca/wrw) for sources of inspiration. Also visit the national Waste Reduction Week website, www.wrwcanada.com. Potential themes for the rap include waste reduction in the following areas:
- at home
- when traveling
- at work
- at school
- during recreation
- when shopping
- in your community
Have students perform their rap for the class. They should write it so that all group members have a chance to take part. Encourage them to be creative and have lines where several of them speak at the same time, along with solo lines.
Extension: If students are very enthusiastic, consider recording the raps and posting them on www.youtube.com!
Curriculum fit: Grade 10 Drama
Grade 10 English
Media In Our Minds
The first of the Three Rs is "Reduce" - in other words, if you don't buy something to begin with, you don't need to find a way to dispose of it. The media has a huge effect on our purchasing practices.
In small groups, have students create a collage of advertisements that encourage consumption. Each group then discusses and makes notes on the following questions:
- How does advertising affect what we want to buy?
- Did anyone find ads encouraging recycling or waste reduction? Why or why not?
- What is the difference between the ads aimed at young people and the ads aimed at adults?
Each group will then show its collage to the class and discuss responses to the questions.
Have students monitor television programming for an evening (or longer) and report back on the following:
- What kinds of consumption patterns are modeled by characters in television programs?
- How much time is devoted to advertising and how much to programming?
- What kinds of products are advertised during kids' programs? Sports shows? The news?
- How often (in programs or advertisements) are "new", "more", "bigger", and "better" emphasized? Why?
- Grade 7 Social Studies: Resources
- Grade 8 Social Studies: The Media - Shaping our Identity
- Grade 9 Science: Saskatchewan - The Environment
- All Grades: Visual Arts
Community 3Rs Poster Activity:
Celebrate Waste Reduction Week by increasing recycling awareness in your community.
- Research—find out where to recycle or reuse various materials / products in your community.
- Make an eye-catching poster to let people know about these recycling opportunities. Be sure to include such information as: where, when, which products, etc.
- Ask local community centres and businesses to put up the poster in a prominent place.
- use a short, catchy message that can be read quickly
- use a slogan telling the viewers to do something and making them want to do it
- use colours and white space to get and hold people’s attention
- use large letters and well-separated words for easy reading, especially from a distance
- plain lettering is easier to read than fancy lettering
- don’t make the picture too “busy”
Hands-On Compost Demonstration
What is compost? Compost is "ready to use" soil organic matter. It is dark, crumbly, and sweet smelling, and is made by arranging a mixture of materials in bins or open piles.
Activity Objective: to give participants a simple but meaningful compost - making experience.
Age level: kindergarten to adult (This could be done with a class, an environment club, or as an activity for care-partners. It could also be organized as a learning event for parents and children.)
Number of people: 15-30
On-line Compost Details :
How-to compost information: www.saskwastereduction.ca/composting/compost
Carbon to nitrogen ratios: compost.css.cornell.edu/OnFarmHandbook/apa.taba1.html
Compost micro-organisms: compost.css.cornell.edu/microorg.html
Summary of Activity : Participants are organized into groups that represent the main ingredients of compost: green materials, brown materials, water, air and soil. With the exception of the person designated as Air, participants are grouped according to the relative amounts used in the compost-making process and provided with pails of material. The compost materials are added gradually and mixed with a fork by ‘Air’. The demonstration takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Concepts and associated activities:
Science: micro-organisms at work; nutrient cycles; aerobic and anaerobic respiration; importance of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen in living systems
Social Studies: ‘wastes’ as resources, co-operative activity
Mathematics: ratios, the concept of units
Literature : incorporate a writing exercise (poems, paragraphs, short stories), make this hands-on activity more dramatic by giving group members spoken lines and ‘performing’ it for an audience.
Materials & Equipment: Quantities will vary with number of participants.
- Green materials: green grass clippings, vegetable/fruit food scraps, other green plant material
- Brown materials: fall leaves, brown grass clippings, straw, chopped cornstalks or other dead bulky garden plants. (This activity is designed to use browns; the ratios of materials will not be correct if shredded paper, sawdust or woodchips are used)
- 4 litre ice cream pails (ideally one per participant)
- name tags with coloured paper inserts to designate groups (i.e. blue for water, black for soil, green for green materials, brown for brown materials)
- 1 garden fork
- 1 tarp
Group Sizes: The majority of participants will be Browns or Greens. For this activity, we will use relatively equal numbers of Browns and Greens. Here is a breakdown for a group of 25 students plus one adult.
- 9 Greens
- 10 Browns
- 4 Water
- 2 Soil
- 1 Air (adult with fork)
Location: This is an outdoor activity.
- For older students, show the Composting on the Prairies video available from SWRC, or watch it on YouTube.
- For younger students, spend some classroom time beforehand talking about compost—let them see and smell finished compost and look at the kinds of materials used to make compost.
- Gather the materials and equipment. The browns store easily but the greens need to be quite fresh to avoid odours and messiness.
- Prepare coloured tags and divide participants into their groups.
- Assign a narrator (teacher or student) to explain the reason for adding different materials. (A script is available on-line. See www.saskwastereduction.ca/wrw/school under “composting activity”.)
- Place tarp on ground and assemble participants with filled pails in hands. ‘Air’ should be poised by the pile and can act as narrator.
- Give a few short words of introduction.
- Invite 5 Browns to come forward and start the pile (If chunky browns are available, this where to use them.) Have Air spread out the materials with a fork to a 10-15 cm. depth.
- Invite 5 Greens to add their materials. Again Air spreads materials to even layer.
- Invite 1 Soil to sprinkle their pail of soil on the pile.
- Invite 1 Water to sprinkle their water on the pile.
- Have Air gently mix the ingredients (a little messy if chunky browns are used)
- Repeat the sequence, with the 3 remaining water added to the larger pile.
- Discuss how the materials will change as the composting process occurs. If possible, have a sample of finished compost available so participants can see the end product.
- Make sure the materials used in this demonstration get added to a functioning compost pile when you are through with them .
Product Life Cycle Activity
Objective: The student will be able to list and understand the life-cycle environmental impact of products that they use. Students will also gain an appreciation for product complexity and for how challenging it is to gather this type of information.
Age Level : Grade 8-12
Method: Help students to trace the life cycle of a favourite product to determine the environmental impact of the things people purchase, from the raw materials to the disposal of the waste product.
1. Select an everyday product: a cell phone, a carrot, a T-shirt, …
2. Try to find out everything you can about the product:
a) What is the product made from? Try to identify the different materials that the product is made from and consider where these materials come from and how they are processed.
b) How is the product made? What types of pollution were produced in the making of the product?
c) How is the product packaged? Where do the packaging materials come from? (Packaging materials have their own life cycles too).
d) How far away was the product manufactured? How was it transported to you? What are the environmental impacts of that transportation?
e) How long will the product last?
f) What happens to the product after you are through with it? Can it be given away? Can it be recycled? Does it need to be thrown in a landfill? What are the environmental impacts of the product’s disposal?
3. Can you find alternatives to the product that will have fewer environmental impacts?
4. Can you use the product in ways that will decrease its effect on the environment?
Sample Life Cycle Analyses (from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Stuff: The Secret Life of Everyday Things (1997) by John C. Ryan and Alan Thein Durning, Seattle: Northwest Environment Watch.
Excerpt on Computers: www.csc.calpoly.edu/~jdalbey/Public/secretlife.html
“Cradle-to-Cradle” design example: www.interfacesustainability.com
For Oscar the Grouch colouring sheets, click here
For an Atlas colouring sheet for WRW 2011, click here.