Idea for Use in the Classroom

Ask students to collect several pieces of plastic trash from home, the school cafeteria, or their classroom. Have students make a four-column data table listing the item, predicted ease of recycling (easy, manageable, difficult, very difficult), and actual ease of recycling. They should fill in the first two columns. Then introduce the infographic to students and ask them to fill in the last column.

Divide the class in to two groups. Have one group of students read the article "Beach Clean-up Study Shows Global Scope of Plastic Pollution" along with the photo in the article. Have the second group read the infographics from the "Fast Facts About Plastic Pollution" article.

After students have reviewed their assigned articles, bring the class together to share what they learned and to brainstorm. First, have students brainstorm ways to decrease the amount of single-use plastics that are used worldwide. Then have them come up with ideas to increase the amount of recycling activity that takes place. Record the ideas presented during each brainstorm session. Select one to two ideas from each brainstorm that students think should be implemented immediately and discuss why.


chemical material that can be easily shaped when heated to a high temperature.


introduction of harmful materials into the environment.


type of plastic that is flexible, easily molded, and used for packaging and insulation.


to clean or process in order to make suitable for reuse.


material that has been used and thrown away.