The purpose of the waste sorting experiment is to show children how consumer’s choices influence the environment.
- A product of your choice (eg. rice or tea) in 2 different types of packaging: 1 a larger bulk pack, the other a pre-portioned multipack. Note that the total weight of product of both package styles should be similar, if not the same.
- Two bowls, one for each product.
1. Open the first (bulk) package and pour the contents into the first bowl. Put aside the packaging.
2. Open the second (portioned) package and pour the contents of each pouch into the second bowl. Put aside all packaging.
3. Compare the amount of product in the two bowls (it should be the same or very similar).
4. Compare the amount of packaging that is left after pouring each product into the bowls.
Which style of packaging generates the most waste? Which is more eco-friendly and why? Why is it worth paying attention to the packaging of the products we buy? What should eco-friendly packaging look like?
For the teacher
The types of packaging that are broadly used nowadays pose serious problems for the environment. It is not only the quantity of packaging that is problematic, but also the materials of which it is made. Much attention has recently been given to plastic’s long disintegration cycle, which means that when it goes to landfill it takes 400 years to decompose, with some types taking as long as 1000 years. There are also a group of products which use packaging made from mixed materials (e.g. tetra pak) which makes recycling very difficult or impossible (like foil coated paper). These are the details that are worth paying attention to when shopping in order to limit plastic packaging when possible and to avoid mixed materials.
This post was created within the framework of The Circular Economy Week 2018 under the slogan GOZpodarne wyzwanie (thrifty challenge).