Let’s step closer to less waste habitats

by Silvana Jakimovska Binova (#TerraMission scenario)

The activities Let’s step closer to less waste habitats were realized with 6th grade (10 years old) students in Primary School Straso Pindzur Karbinci, North Macedonia.
The aim of the activities was to learn about waste and waste management, to research the problem of waste in the local community and to get acquainted with the idea of reducing waste by reuse and recycling. Engaged in activities such as paper recycling, designing and creating new products by reusing materials students were introduced to the importance and opportunities for its practice in everyday life.
They are based on my TerraMission scenario. The main motivation and resource for realization of the activities was the interactive presentation Terra Mission Theme 3 – Waste (8-11).
For wider interaction with local community and parents the Facebook group “Less waste habitats” was created.

Our activities

Plastic soup – introductory activity

As introductory activity, four students from 9 grade organized special event – preparing a soup with an irresistible taste similar to the taste of the largest soup in the world. They sheared recipe and prepared it in front of 6 grades students in our school.

Ingredients needed:
PLASTIC SOUP PACKAGING that contains the right amount of multicolored disposable plastic that a person “throws” in the ocean for 1 month and clothing material according to the latest trend; as well as pieces of various other non-degradable materials;
Residues of used liquid chemicals for the preparation of PLASTIC SOUP
User guide:
Mandatory preparation with residues of used liquid chemicals.

The video from preparation can be seen here.

Would you try this soup? Why then do we prepare it every day?

The Plastic soup was served in the school hall during the big break, so as all student were informed about start of our project activities. The students were warned to ask for ingredients of the soup first.

By analyzing the infographic What a waste 2.0? students were introduced to the basic facts about the challenges of waste in the world:
The world produces 2 trillion tons of waste annually.
If appropriate actions are not taken, the amount of this waste will increase by 70% to 2050.
Most – 44% of the waste is food waste.
In underdeveloped countries 90% of waste is not managed.

Students played the Kahoot quiz for checking the knowledge about this facts.

Lection from terramission resource – part 1

With the interactive resource from the TerraMission project (slides 1-20, translated into Macedonian) students were encouraged to think critical and took part in a useful discussion: What is waste and what is garbage?; What is plastic?, What are its advantages and disadvantages?, How do we use plastic products every day?;
How much plastic is produced annually and how much of it ends up in nature?;
How plastic reaches rivers, lakes, oceans and how it returns to our food?;

Students are aware of the presence of plastic waste in nature but were amazed by the fact that the same plastic returns to the food we eat.

Visit of landfill of our vilage

As part of the activities on the Day of Ecology – 21 March, with a group of students we visited the landfill in Karbinci, a place where the waste of the inhabitants of the village Karbinci is taken.
Our goal was to analyze what kind of waste there is the most – the answer is: different types of PLASTIC.
What we have noticed is that the necessary products for Plastic Soup are ready for its preparation and the preparation is in progress !?!That worried us all.

Analysis of waste in our homes

For a period of one week, March 21-25, as activity before math lesson, the students filled the Daily Waste Diary every day. They analyzed what kind of waste (food scraps, plastic, paper, glass or metal) and how much they have in their home waste bins. They worked with their parents on this task.
During the math classes working in groups students prepared summative table and diagram using the online Excel document Analysis of homemade waste. The conclusion is that plastic (37%), paper (18%) and food (19%) take the biggest part of students household waste bins.

Analysis of waste in our school

For a period of one week, March 21-25, two 6 grade students analyzed the waste in the classrooms bins. Every day they took pictures from classrooms waste bins.
The analysis showed that the boxes contain paper or plastic bottles and bags.

Lection from terramission resource – part 2

With the Terra Mission Topic 3 – Waste lesson (slides 20 -37) students were challenged to think about solutions and changing their habits for waste. Activities included short tasks and discussion on questions: Can you imagine life without plastic? What else can we do to reduce the waste problem? What else can we do with our garbage?
They watched the video: How Sweden turns garbage into energy so as to get informed about smart way of using garbage.
To summarize ideas and potential for changing habits students filled the table questionnaireWhat we do with the waste? / What we plan to do? / What we can not do?
Here are their answers.

The situation with waste in our municipality – a survey of parents

Parents and their opinions and habits about waste were very important to us. That is why we asked them to answer our questionnaire. From their answers we concluded that plastic and paper waste is the biggest challenge for them.
Regarding the selection and reuse of waste, most of them have selected and reused plastic and glass bottles as well as old clothes.
Most parents are willing to sort the waste, not use plastic bags and disposable plastic and clean the nature.
All parents responses can be seen here.

Who and how can help us

Dealing with the waste challenges is the task of all citizens. But, it is the task and responsibility of the institutions within the municipality. The students prepared a Mind Map with institutions that can help, as well as opportunities for mutual cooperation and solving the problems and challenges with waste.
Students expect care and support from the mayor of municipality, the director of the utility company, eco NGOs and utility inspectors. They concluded that is important to be informed about the problems, to jointly seek solutions, to be informed about the latest knowledge on waste management, to organize joint actions for the development of awareness, etc.
The map (on Macedonian) can be seen here.

practical activities

Motivated by the video Reuse, recycle, reduce for better lifestudents focus on practical work. In mixed groups they worked on tasks for recycling and reuse of waste:
paper recycling and making 3R eko brooches from recycled paper;
– making kinetic origami from old paper;
– reuse of plastic bottles for making Easter baskets and art making art of bottles cups;
– reuse of old clothes for making new products.

Each student choose the topic of the practical work according to the interest. The students from the upper grades were mentors. They guided and helped the students from the lower grades during the work.

Reflection on activities

The activities Let’s step closer to less waste habitats were realized within the STEM Discovery Campign 2022 and the #TeraaMission challenge according to a scenario that was created during TerraMission MOOC.
The TerraMission resource – interactive presentation Theme 3 – Waste was especially useful. All of the activities were inspired and realized according to it. The gynzy.com platform on which the presentation is created, allows the adjustment of the existing resources so that it was translated into Macedonian and through the FB group “Habits for less waste” was shared with other teachers in the school.
The combination of short lessons, videos and simple interactive tasks was rewarding.
all 6th grade students were motivated and actively involved in all activities.
Through a questionnaire, joint activities and the FB group and parents were involved in the activities. The visit to the landfill in the village of Karbinci was of special importance for the students, where they did find a real picture of the problem with plastic waste. Through the practical activities, the students practiced ways to reuse old paper, plastic bottles and old clothes. We plan to expand the waste reuse activities in the next period, because students are asking for.
The brochure and activities were presented to the mayor and the wider community.

The brochure can be seen here (on Macedonian language).