5R’s of the CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Excursion Program Overview

This new 2 or 4 hour hands-on program for level 5 & 6 at our Sustainability Excursion Centre, explores responsible consumerism, design and waste minimisation. It allows students to understand the principals of a linear v a circular economy and introduces students to new innovation that’s transforming waste into worth.  We explore what’s hot about compost and maggots, and the journey of products and their planned obsolescence and how we can make a difference in our every day lives.

Learning Outcomes

This program will provide students  a basic understanding of a linear and a circular economy, be able to help make better purchasing decisions (individually and with family), distinguish between everyday items that can be recycled, those that must go to landfill, and how specialised waste such as e-waste, clothing, coffee waste, oral care and others are being recycled and or up cycled.

Students are introduced to resource limitations and Overshoot Day, the Blue and Green Economies and the 6th wave of innovation and how it’s driving radical resource productivity, job creation and sustainability.  We will discuss how science and business are making smarter resource decisions and how we can all play our part.  Activity allows students to work in groups to conduct independent learning.  It also requires students to utilise their verbal communication skills to present their findings to the class.

Students will become familiar with the natural resources used to make common single-use items and will discover that such resources are limited and need to be used wisely.  Students will determine if a range of single-use items can be recycled or if the materials/production of the items can be changed to make a more sustainable product.    They will also be able to identify the value of food waste, new options for food waste, and why burning waste i.e. waste to energy is not a smart option, especially if we are to provide resources for future generations. They will understand why soil health is important and how we can reduce stress of the human food chain by using a more natural source of protein for fish and poultry by upcycling food waste using black soldier flies.

Students will be familiar with the processes used to recycle steel, aluminium, glass, paper and plastic, and understand that our common, everyday items are derived from natural resources which are limited and need to be used wisely. They will also understand there is now a substitute to trees being the main resource to make paper -by introducing Stone Paper.

By the end of this program students will have created a list of everyday actions that could be implemented to conserve resources and will feel empowered to share these actions with others within their community.

Curriculum Links

Science: Science Understanding/Chemical Science
Changes to materials can be reversible, including melting, freezing, evaporating, or irreversible, including burning and rusting (VCSSU077)

  • Investigating irreversible changes, for example, rusting, burning and cooking
  • Exploring how reversible changes can be used to recycle materials

Science: Science Inquiry Skills
Communicate ideas and processes using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and to identify simple cause-and-effect relationships (VCSIS088)

  • Using a variety of communication modes, for example, reports, explanations, arguments, debates and procedural accounts, to communicate science ideas.

Civics and Citizenship: Citizenship, Diversity and Identity
Examine the concept of global citizenship (VCCCC017)

  • Identifying the obligations people may consider they have as global citizens, such as an awareness of human rights issues, concern for the environment and sustainability, and being active and informed about global issues.

Design and Technologies: Technologies and Society
Investigate how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability, in the design of solutions for current and future use (VCDSTS033)

Design and Technologies: Creating Designed Solutions
Negotiate criteria for success that include consideration of environmental and social sustainability to evaluate design ideas, processes and solutions (VCDSCD041)

  • Considering the criteria for success in relation to the benefits and costs of production processes, the environmental impact, future use and application, and social values and ethics of clients
  • Evaluating designed solutions from a range of technologies contexts with consideration of ethics and sustainability

Economics and Business: Resource Allocation and Making Choices
Describe the difference between needs and wants and explain why choices need to be made. (VCEBR001)
Identify types of resources (natural, human, capital) and explore the ways societies use them in order to satisfy the needs and wants of present and future generations (VCEBR003)

  • Brainstorming resources that are used in their school and categorising them as natural (water, coal, oil), human (workers, business owners, designing, making, thinking) and capital (tools, machines, technologies)
  • Evaluating the sustainability implications of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment, for example materials can be recycled or re-used to reduce waste; systems may benefit some, but disadvantage others
  • Considering the impact designed solutions have in relation to sustainability and also on local, national, regional and global communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and countries in the Asia region

Economics and Business: Consumer and Financial Literacy
Consider the effect that the consumer and financial decisions of individuals may have on themselves, their family, the broader community and the natural, economic and business environment (VCEBC005)

  • Considering if their actions have an effect on the environment, for example, does choosing to use recycling shopping bags or reusable have an effect on the natural environment?

The Victorian Curriculum F-10 content elements are © VCAA, reproduced by permission. Victorian Curriculum F-10 elements accurate at time of publication. The VCAA does not endorse or make any warranties regarding this resource. The Victorian Curriculum  F-10 and related content can be accessed directly at the VCAA website.

Program Details

Program Location Sustainability Education Centre Cheltenham
Max # of Groups (group max 30) 4
Possible Start Times 10am (9.40am arrival), 12.30pm (12.10pm arrival)
Grade Level Years 5 - 6
Program Duration 2 hours
Program Type Excursion
Program Theme Recycling, Sustainability, Waste Minimisation, Properties of Materials, Worms & Compost
Cost per group 2hr program - $360