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Last Updated: Friday April 17 2009 11:37 GMT

Litter and recycling

PSHE Responsibility

Ricky's on the lookout for litter


According to the Marine Conservation Society, the amount of rubbish littering Britain's beaches has doubled in the past 15 years.

Learning aims
  • Think about their own attitudes and behaviour towards litter and recycling.
  • Consider the issues surrounding them.


Read the story:

Ask the group:

  • How do they feel when they see litter?
  • Why do people drop litter?
  • Why should people have to look after rubbish like sweet wrappers after they have finished with the product?
  • Where is litter a problem at their school?
  • Which kids do they think drop the most litter and why?
  • Can they own up to the last five times they dropped litter?
  • Why do they do it?
  • What would make them stop?

Main activity

Read out the following story:

Print out this worksheet:

How 'green' are you?

Students consider each statement on the questionnaire

When they have marked the worksheet for how often they do each of the things, they should swap with a partner who will give them a score as follows:

  • Always - score 5 points
  • Sometimes - score 2 points
  • Never - score 0 points
  • 0 to 15 - you're not really trying
  • 16 to 29 - you're almost there, keep going
  • 30 to 38 - well done, keep it up
  • 39 to 42 - fantastic, help others to be more green
  • Don't buy things that have lots of packaging.
  • Give things to friends rather than throw them away.

Extension activity

Put students into new groups to discuss:

  • Why do people often not seem to behave in a way that helps the environment?
  • How can people be persuaded to change?


Recap on the main teaching points and students present their ideas for changing people's attitudes.

Teachers' Background
  • Britain is at the bottom of the recycling league in Europe, reusing just 10% of its rubbish.
  • The British government thinks that figure should rise to 33% by 2015. Even then we'd still be 17% behind Germany and Austria's current level.
  • A recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours.
  • If all the aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK were recycled, there would be 14 million fewer dustbins.
  • The simplest and cheapest option is usually to bury garbage in an environmentally safe landfill.
  • A typical takeaway meal creates less than two ounces of garbage for each customer. This is less than what's generated by a typical meal at home.
  • Every ton of glass, plastic and metal that is delivered to a recycler, costs more than it would spend to bury the material in a landfill.

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