Activity: Identifying Alternatives to Plastic
This activity helps young people to reduce the use of plastic products by finding better alternatives for disposable plastics
This activity focuses on identifying alternatives to the most commonly used disposable plastic products while making young people aware of the harm caused by disposable plastics.
- The facilitator should introduce the concept of disposable plastic.
- Following the introduction of the concept, the facilitator should ask the participants to name any disposable plastic products they can think of. One of the participants can be given the responsibility of writing the names of these products on the board.
- Initially each participant should be asked to name only one product so that each participant has a chance to give her/his contribution to the list on the board.
- After all the answers are up on the board, the facilitator should initiate a discussion on whether and why any of the products need to be removed from the list
- The facilitator should begin the second round. Take each item on the list and ask any of the participants to suggest an alternative to that product and explain why the alternative is a better option. If the group agrees that this product is indeed a better alternative, then erase that product from the list. Go through the entire list in this way.
- The facilitator should check all the products have disappeared from the list? If not then how many still remain?
- The young people could then be asked to think it over, in their own time and see if they can come up with an alternative to those products for which no alternative could be found.
- Conclusion: Participants should be able to understand that while plastics are extensively used, it is possible to find alternatives for the most of them. In the case of those products for which alternatives have not yet been found, the participants should be reminded that such products need to be disposed of appropriately in the bin which is marked for dry waste.
- Evaluation: Assess if every participant has thoroughly understood the concept of disposable plastics and the fact that alternatives to them are available.
Activity: Needs and Wants
Summary: This activity helps young people conclude that use of certain disposable plastic products can be avoided.
Activity development: Most cities and rural areas are developing rapidly; hence there is also a rapid growth in consumption of resources. While this is especially happening in our cities, villages too are increasingly following the same path. However, the ease and convenient availability of resources leads to haphazard consumption, especially of disposable plastics. This activity aims to differentiate between the needs and wants of disposable plastic products, some of which may not be necessary but are bought anyway.
- The facilitator should introduce participants to the concept of sustainable consumption and its importance.
- The facilitator should discuss with the participants the difference between necessary, long term plastic products and disposable ones.
- The facilitator should ask each participant to prepare a personal household consumption checklist using the exemplar sheet provided.
- In groups, the young people should then prepare a consolidated list using their personal consumption checklists.
- The facilitator should ask the groups to share their consumption checklist with another group of young people in the meeting.
- Each group will come forward and share their list.
- The facilitator should discuss how choice of products, packaging, usage, etc contribute to the differences in the lists arrived.
- Following the discussion, the facilitator should provide the Reflection and Action Worksheet to each participant.
- The facilitator should randomly ask a few participants to share what they have written in these sheets with the other young people.
- Conclusion: young people would understand their household consumption patterns of plastic products and products with plastic packaging. They would conclude that certain disposable plastics are completely avoidable.
- Evaluation: young people can be asked to suggest alternatives to disposable plastics use.
Activity: When do they degrade?
This activity helps young people to understand what degradation and the time different materials are taken to degrade.
Different materials in the environment take different periods of time to degrade. Some materials like plastics, thermocol, etc. do not biodegrade and continue to be in the environment. Materials such as wood, grass and food scraps can break down in the presence of microbes and transform into useful compounds. Plastics on the other hand cannot be degraded by microbes and these generally end up in landfills or water bodies, thus polluting them. Despite the problems associated with its disposal, we cannot avoid using plastics because of their use in a variety of areas. It is, therefore, essential that we use and dispose of these responsibly.
Before you begin
Introduce the term biodegradable and nonbiodegradable materials in the meeting. Explain how degradation takes place and mention about the agents of degradation in nature. Explain about the role of bacterial and other microbes in decomposition. Ask the young people to help in digging out a small pit in the garden area of the young people Den, about 8-10 inches in depth. Also give a copy of the worksheet provided below to every group to enter their observations.
- The facilitator asks the participants to place the different kinds of waste collected in the pit. Close the pit once there is a variety of waste in it.
- Young people should dig out the pit after a week to see the condition of each waste item they have buried and enter their observations on the worksheet. They should continue the cycle for 12 weeks and note the gradual changes (if any), they observe in each item buried. They should also record changes in terms of quantity, colour, texture, smell, etc.
- At the end of the experiment, young people should make a chart presenting their observations and recordings of: what has degraded, which material has not and the gradual changes they have observed in the items, if any.
- Conclusion: young people understand that degradation is a natural process and different materials take different periods of time to degrade.
- Evaluation: Discuss which material are biodegradable based on the experiment
Activity: Bottle Planters
This activity helps to introduce young people to creative ways of using packaging waste
Soft drink PET bottles come in different shapes and sizes. These bottles can be used creatively to create planters as an art and craft activity.
Placing the bottle horizontally, the young person can cut out a rectangular section from one side of the plastic bottle. The bottle should have its cap on. The following steps are suggested:
Fill the bottle with soil.
Plant seeds of flowers or vegetables/ herbs in the soil. (Use what locally grown in your area)
Use the string to hang the bottle in an appropriate place with maximum sunlight.
Water the plant to see them grow.
The facilitator should encourage the young person to share pictures of the reusable bottle planters in the class.
Evaluation: Did the young people understand the concept of reusing a plastic product? Did they come up with more ideas for the reuse of plastic waste?
Activity: Changing Minds
Do you have a sibling who starts yawning when you talk about plastic pollution? A cousin who flagrantly trashes plastic instead of recycling? A friend who uses far more single-use plastic than necessary?
• Prepare a slideshow for them, with facts and photos about the problems with plastics.
• Afterwards, ask them if they learned anything new or if your presentation made them care a bit more.
• If not, what would it take for them for them to change their ways? If yes, ask them to commit to one or two lifestyle changes that will make a difference.
• Follow up in a months’ time to see if they have kept their promises. • Evaluation: What have you learned about making people change their behaviors? Will they share your presentation with others?
- Carry out the slideshow
- Get at least one person said they learned something new due to the slideshow
Make sure to share your progress with family and friends on social media, and don't forget to include hashtags and tags!
Activity: Biggest plastic footprints?
• Organize a “plastic face-off” between your two teams during an event or between your group.
• Everyone in both teams will save the plastic they use over the Camp duration or during the meeting of the week from plastic shopping bags to water bottles to food packaging.
• Have each team create a “mountain” of everything collected and, at the end of the week, do a comparison with a league table. Which mountain is bigger? What are the main items found in each? Follow up with a discussion.
• Repeat this in one months’ time.
Some debriefing questions for participants
• Did the activity make everyone think more about reducing their use of plastic?
• Did the final amount of plastic collected shock them?
• How about a second showdown to see which team manages to reduce their plastic use more and produce a smaller mountain?
Activity: Segregation at Source
This activity helps young people understand the importance of waste segregation and learn to categorize and dispose of waste correctly.
(facilitator tip: do it according to your municipality waste collection system*
Segregation of waste must begin at home, as it is critical to its recycling and disposal. Lack of segregation, collection and transportation of unsegregated mixed waste to the landfills has an impact on the environment.
When we segregate waste, it reduces the amount of waste that reaches landfills, thereby taking up less space. Pollution of air and water can be considerably reduced when hazardous waste is separated and treated separately.
The rules also specify the colour coding for the bins which should be used for Dry waste, Wet waste and Hazardous waste. It is essential that the waste is put in the correct colour bins so that it can be appropriately dealt with. You can also align the colours and type of waste according to your municipality waste collection system, to enhance understanding and practicality
Before you begin
The facilitator should prepare paper sheets with names of different degradable and non-degradable waste as given: vegetables, fruits, flowers, leaves from garden, plastics, paper, glass, tetra packs, aluminium foil, pencil shavings, band aid, pins, metal clips, chip packet, chocolate wrapper, polythene bag, plastic water bottle, plastic soft drink bottle, cotton U pins, used battery, etc. The facilitator may add a few more names if required to ensure that each participant has one sheet. Some of the names can be repeated.
The facilitator should introduce the topic to the meeting and show them the three coloured bins and explain which kind of waste will go into each of the bins.
After the topic has been introduced, the facilitator should ask each participant to pick one sheet from the pile of sheets placed in a box.
The facilitator should then ask the young people to put their sheets in the appropriate bins (Blue labelled for Dry Waste, Green labelled for Wet Waste and Red/Black labelled for hazardous).
The young people identify the right bins for each product in the sheet and put them accordingly in the bin.
Conclusion: After the activity has been completed the facilitator should check the sheets thrown into the dustbins and in case of a mistake, the facilitator should make the participants aware about the composition of that particular product and in which dustbin it should have been thrown into.
Evaluation: The young people would have understood the concept of segregation and the categories into which it needs to be segregated
Three Dustbins: (Blue for dry waste, Green for wet waste and Red/Black for hazardous waste) Paper sheets with names of different degradable and non-degradable waste as given: vegetables, fruits, flowers, leaves from garden, plastics, paper, glass, tetra packs, aluminium foil, pencil shavings, band aid, pins, metal clips, chip packet, chocolate wrapper, polythene bag, plastic water bottle, plastic soft drink bottle, cotton U pins, used battery, etc.
Activity: Poster Campaign
Get creative and demonstrate hands-on leadership with a poster.
• Use your artwork to get people to think about changing their single-use plastic habits and keep the neighborhood clean.
• Use the #CleanSeas hashtag to share your signs with us;
• and, if it’s legal, see if you can put up your signs in places where plastic pollution is at its worst.
• Put the poster in your young people den
Congratulations on completing your badge activities, continue taking action by planning and completing a community service project through the link belowCommunity service project