Learning Pack #10: What’s Old is New – Reducing Waste Through Upcycling, Recycling and Circular Economies | Global Ideas | DW

Trash has become such a feature of our lives that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. From plastic and paper packaging to kitchen waste, unnecessary clothes or broken mobile phones, everything is around us.

There are many recycling concepts, but few are operational globally and only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled each year. Part of the problem is that there are so many different types of plastic, some of which cannot be recycled. Additionally, the process is often expensive and requires large amounts of energy and water. So we need other ideas. But what?

Some experts call for the introduction of circular economies to replace our existing economic and production systems. In such scenarios – as in nature where dead plant remains gradually become compost – every product, from plastic bottles to mobile phones, would be made in such a way that it could be broken down into its component parts. All the raw materials recovered in this process could be used repeatedly for the manufacture of new products.

Others, however, ask us to use existing waste for things like building houses. Meanwhile, scientists have discovered that certain species of worms can eat plastic. Could this be a solution?

Learning Pack #10 “Old is New: Reducing Waste through Upcycling, Recycling and Circular Economies” includes ideas and solutions around the global waste problem. How to stop the tide of waste? Why isn’t recycling a miracle solution? How can individuals generate less waste? On the subject of upcycling, participants have the opportunity to get creative by transforming hard-to-recycle beverage cartons into invitations or flower pots and plastic bottles into cases with zippers and mobiles.

For children and teenagers from 12 years old
The materials are suitable for children and young people from the age of 12 and allow teachers to approach the theme of waste in a fun and interactive way. The material may be used free of charge for non-commercial purposes.

The learning package includes:

> 1 booklet for teachers (for classroom teaching)
> 1 interactive notebook for participants (for distance learning)
> 1 role-playing game with 7 cards
> 8 films:

  1. Trash – A problem to avoid!
  2. Finding creative solutions to India’s waste problem
  3. The small startup bringing recycling to Cape Town
  4. Building walls with waste
  5. Fast fashion and a flood of second-hand clothes
  6. What does the circular economy really mean?
  7. Circular economy: sustainable and profitable
  8. Recycling plastic with mealworms

> 1 item:

  1. Circular economy: could rethinking design transform the world?

> 1 feature film project:

  1. Plastic – A lifeline for the fossil fuel industry?

For in-person classes:
Please start by downloading the “booklet for teachers” when preparing your lessons. There you will find copies of all the worksheets, including explanatory documents and solutions. You will find the booklet available in PDF format under “Downloads”.

For distance learning:
When running online courses, please also download the interactive ‘workbook for participants’ as well as the ‘booklet for teachers’. You will find both under “Downloads”. You can then send the workbook PDF to attendees as an email attachment. The workbook includes the worksheets but not the solutions. Participants can complete their work on their own on their computer, save the work, and mail it back to you. Participants will need Acrobat Reader to complete the booklet. It’s available here to download for free.

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If you have any questions about our Global Ideas Learning Packs or require a printed version of the material, please contact us at: globalideas@dw.com