Yr 9 Plastic Pollution Project

Dead seabird with plastic contents in stomach

As part of the environmental unit (Unit 3 in Interactions) we are now going to do an extended study of the way plastics are polluting the environment, particularly the oceans.  More than eight million tonnes of plastic is thrown away each year and washed out to sea.  It takes centuries to break down. It’s eaten by marine creatures. And it’s in our food chain.

Homework this week will be a research task based on the film A Plastic Tide:

seal plastic

The plastic choking the oceans of the world is illustrated very well by this photo of a seal injured by discarded plastic fishing net.  The irresponsible dumping of plastics in the oceans is a topic which concerns all of us and we need to ask how can the problem be addressed. We must start by recognising that we are all part of the problem.

Homework week 1

Return date (9M) Monday 15 May; (9W) Tuesday 16 May.

Homework task for Plastic Week 1 is to research your fridge at home.  A good time to do this is immediately after the weekly shopping has been done: that is why you are having longer to do the homework this week, so you can choose the right moment to survey the fridge.  Do not leave your fridge door open while doing the survey: take all plastic items out from one part of the fridge, close the door, record the items, then replace them and take out some more.  Remember, leaving a fridge door open wastes energy.  Record all plastic items like this:

Date: Time:
Description of plastic Rigid Soft Number
1 litre bottle water 2 2
Juice carton plastic top 2 2
Egg tray top & wrapper 1  1 2
500 ml yogurt pot & top  2 2
100 gm flan de huevo 6 6
Pizza tray & top 2  2 4
500 gm bacon 1 1

Please keep a full record as this will be used for pair-work in class.

Further links for Plastic Project Week 1:



andaman-south-sentinel-584x464 (1)


Week 2: the Great Plastic Rubbish Gyre



Homework week 2

Return date (9M) Monday 22 May; (9W) Tuesday 23 May.

The homework task for Plastic Week 2 will be completely rubbish! Every time you finish a plastic drink bottle, food bag, crisp packet, plastic writing pen, anything… Don’t throw it away.  Keep it.  Yes, I want you to  keep your rubbish! Have a shopping bag or something inside your school bag to collect your rubbish.  Then at the end of the day, add the items to your plastic diary, to be set out like this:

DAY Description of plastic Use Quantity
MON Crisp packet S (Single) 1
Coca Cola bottle & top S 2
Ballpoint pen & top M (Multiple) 2
Sandwich box and lid S 2
Water bottle & top S 2
Old document wallets M 5
Etc… Total

Please keep a full record as this will be used for pair-work in class.

Plastics Project Week 3

First we looked at the problem and now we shall attempt to see what the solution may be.  What steps are being taken to recycle plastics or avoid using them so widely?  This is a complex issue and there are no easy answers because we have become used to the convenience and cheapness of plastic goods and plastic packaging.  However, our present dumping of plastic waste is so environmentally unsustainable that we can argue this is  serious problem like climate change, and we MUST address it somehow.

There are ways of addressing specific issues of plastic waste, and we will probably need to take steps one-at-a-time like this to solve the problem.  Banning plastics overnight is simply not going to happen, but there are things we can start doing to recycle or return to non-plastic production of some items.  For example, building houses in developing countries using plastic bottles, as seen in this video.

World’ largest plastic bottle recycling plant in California, USA.  “Closed loop recycling ” means that there is a continuous recycling of the plastic and none of it ends up going into landfill rubbish sites or into the sea.

Homework task for Plastic Week 3 is called “Solving the Problem: Sustainable Plastic Use?

1. Read the information on this web page: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/10-ways-reduce-plastic-pollution and say which three of the ten solutions are most practical and why you think so.

2. Add two more ways to this list to reduce plastic use.  These can be ways you discussed in class in the pair work.

3. Use Google to search for one plastic recycling project you think is a good example: summarise the project in about half a page.  Search with advanced Google search, using “recycling plastic” as a key phrase and other key words such as “bottles” “packaging” “micro-plastics” etc.


About Gareth Thomas

A fairly mixed career starting as an aircraft technician and later Franciscan friar eventually led into secondary school teaching. I settled in Spain where I teach Geography part-time and spend the rest of my time looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I have three blogs: a geography blog and a donkey blog begun in 2015, plus an old donkey blog which ran from 2010 to 2015.
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