1 hour

Students will learn about different types of plastic, their application in everyday items and assess their ability to be recycled by local authorities.


Background information about marine debris and a vocabulary list can be found in the Fact Sheet: Marine Debris.

All students will require a copy of Student Worksheet: Recycle Challenge.

This lesson may follow the Lesson: Unfantastic Plastic.


  1. Ask students why they think society is so reliant on plastics. Ask students what raw materials are used to manufacture plastics. Discuss with students that there are many different types of plastics categorised by its composition.
  2. Distribute Student Worksheet: Recycle Challenge and explain the symbols are Plastic Identification Code with each number representing a different type of plastic.
  3. Ask student to find within the classroom (and school bags and/or lunch boxes) examples of different types of plastic. Look for the symbol printed or embossed on the bottom or the side of objects. Note down each type of object on the Student Worksheet. This activity can continue at the student’s home.
  4. Once an adequate list has been compiled, research which plastic products are recycled in your local community by contacting the local council or authority. If possible, find out further details about the recycling process and question why some plastics are not recycled in your area.
  5. Implement a recycling (and reuse) program at school and home, if not already established.


biodegradable, flotsam, jetsam, litter, marine debris, plastic, pollution, polymer, recycle, reuse, rubbish, waste