Search for Resources

Plastic Waste Management in Canada

Secondary

Description

Plastic waste management and diversion is a critical issue as it ensures that plastic waste does not end up in the environment. Inadequate waste management over the decades has led to the massive problem of plastic waste polluting our oceans, land and air. While the world comes together to clean up the environment by reclaiming plastic waste, municipalities around the world also need to focus on improving plastic waste management and diversion strategies to ensure plastic does not continue to enter the environment.

By the end of this activity, learners will:

  • Develop an understanding of plastic waste management in Canada
  • Understand what their local municipalities are doing to manage plastic waste

The lesson consists of three steps:

  • Teachers use backgrounder to explain waste management in Canada to students
  • Students investigate best practices observed by cities around the world to manage plastic waste 
  • Students explore municipal plastic waste management programs in cities across Canada to understand how municipalities are managing plastic waste

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Students practice those skills associated with

  • identifying relevant information
  • recording information
  • reporting information

Strengths

  • Plastic waste management is a critical and global issue. The resource helps students to understand the options available to us if we are to move to a zero plastic waste world. Such understanding will allow them to participate in that discussion and take individual and collective action to move in the desired direction.
  • The case study approach to the issue is effective as it provides concrete action as to what may be done.
  • The resource also contains a number of additional resources that supplement and enhance the lesson.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The resource may be used in combination with two other resources dealing with plastic waste and developed by Green Learning. The combination allows students to examine the sources of plastic waste, possible responses to eliminating plastic waste and innovative ways in which plastic can be utilized to make consumer goods.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Investigations
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11:Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Living sustainably supports the well-being of self, community, and Earth.
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Human Geography 12: Human activities alter landscapes in a variety of ways.
        • Urban Studies 12: Urban planning decisions and other government policies can dramatically affect the overall quality of life in cities
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Environment
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 120:A Geographic Perspective on a Current Canadian Issue
        • Canadian Geography 120:Managing Natural Resources
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120:Interdependence
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 1202: Economic Issues in Canadian Geography
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: Introduction to Environmental Science
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 3201: Human-Environment Interaction
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship 9: Engaged Citizenship
        • Citizenship 9: Global Citizenship
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Spaceship Earth
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • AP Environmental Science: Aquatic and Terrestrial Pollution
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Managing Canada's Resources and Industries
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Managing Canada's Resources and Industries
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Reducing and Managing Waste
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): The Physical Environment: Sustainability and Stewardship
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living in a Sustainable World (Workplace Prep.) Sustainability of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Environment in the Global Community
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 631A Global Issues: What are the issues?
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Contemporary World: Environment
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Technological World
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Contemporary World: Environment
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 20: Human Population and Pollution
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studiees 20:World Issues - Environment
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11:Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Living sustainably supports the well-being of self, community, and Earth.
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Urban Studies 12: Decision making in urban and regional planning requires balancing political, economic, social, and environmental factors

Themes Addressed

  • Waste Management (4)

    • Composting
    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students investigate best practices for waste management, evaluate each and assess the efforts of selected Canadian cities with respect to these practices. 

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Best practices for waste management are explored by categories that include using financial instruments, social awareness and action, and strategies for reuse and recycling.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Student investigation of the variety of tools employed to manage waste will help them appreciate the complexity of the issue.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Teachers may choose to add another step to the lesson by having students measure their communities against the best practices identified in their investigation and to lobby for those improvements they think would improve waste mangement in their schools and communities.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory

There is no explicit direction that would have students link personal values and waste management but there is a natural link here that teachers might and should exploit.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

Part of the waste mangement story includes information about the "export" of our waste and the dangers to the health of the poor people who work in recovering something of economic value of that waste.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

The information gained by students in examining the attached print and video resources may be expected to heighten their realization of the damage to the environment created by our waste.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

Students work in jigsaw groups to investigate the waste management policies and practices of four Canadian cities. While not included in the lesson plan, teachers may take the obvious next step, which would have students carry out a similar investigation of their schools and communities.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The lesson focuses on current best practices in waste management designed to move us to a zero waste future.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Students examine the waste management practices in their assigned cities followed by a discussion of a number of open ended questions that allow them to debate the merits of various waste strategies.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

Student investigation into waste management strategies will touch upon a number  of subject areas including the financial considerations that must be factored into any movement to reduce or eliminate waste ( Economics); the responsibility and political will of the various levels of government to undertake the measures advocated (Political Science); civic responsibility ( Citizenship), issues related to biodegradables and toxic waste (Science); and the environmental impact of current and proposed management policies (Environmental Science, Sustainable Development).  

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

Students are asked to consider what may be done to address our current waste problems, provided with some examples of best practices and information about what some constituencies are doing, and asked to evaluate or take the measure of these strategies to address the issue.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

The lesson adopts an instructional strategy that has students examine what might and what is being done to manage plastic waste and discuss and debate their findings.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

Students are dealing with a real world problem and are provided with information that outlines what can be done and what is being done to meet the challenge in a number of case studies.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

In step 3 of the lesson, students explore municipal plastic waste programs in selected Canadian cities. Jigsaw groups are arranged to undertake the investigation and students move about within the jigsaw to share information and understanding.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

The lesson concludes with a class discussion that is guided by a number of open - ended questions. Student response to these questions will provide a measurement of student understanding and their position on the issue of plastic waste.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

The jigsaw approach to investigating waste practices in selected cities will stimulate a sharing of information and insights among students.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

Step 2 in the lesson plan introduces students to best practices observed by cities around the world to manage plastic waste, while step 3 has students explore municipal plastic waste programs in four Canadian cities.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

The lesson incorporates the elements of directed study. Students collect information about plastic waste, answer a number of related questions, and discuss and debate their findings. Other questions may arise but are not encouraged.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.