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Teachers: PSHE: Confidence Responsibility

Last Updated: Thursday September 15 2005 10:31 GMT


PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F


Cans for recycling

Figures show that the recycling of household waste in some parts of the UK has doubled in the past four years. Most people in England now recycle more than a fifth of their rubbish.

How green are you? Students take a questionnaire and consider their own environmental actions and attitudes.

Learning aims
  • Attitudes and behaviour towards the environment
  • Issues surrounding them

Plastic bottles for recycling

Read out this story to the class.

Ask the class:

  • Where can you take rubbish to get it recycled? Bottle and paper banks - kerbside collections in some parts of the UK.
  • How many of the group recycle their rubbish?
  • If they don't recycle what are their reasons?
  • What measures could encourage more people to recycle?
Main activity


Give a copy of this worksheet to each student.

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
Scores are given the following ratings:
  • 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
Students discuss what they 'never' do in small groups.

Students think up two more additions for the list.

Here are some suggestions:

  • 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?

Students present their ideas for changing people's attitudes.

Teachers' Background
    The UK produces enough waste in less than two hours to fill London's Albert Hall
    Britons throw away an average of seven times their own body weight in rubbish every year
    If the UK recycled all aluminium cans, 14m fewer dustbins would be filled every year
    Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours
    The average British family throws away six trees' worth of paper every year

    SOURCE: Recyclezone, WRAP.
  • The UK recycles just 14.5% of household waste, far behind countries like the Netherlands (59%) and Austria (58%).
Anti-recycling arguments (taken from 'Recycling is Garbage' by John Tierney):
  • 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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