WASTED EDUCATION | How to become a Plastic Expert

WASTED Educational Packages is an entertaining and fun way to become a Plastic Expert now

Plastic was thought to be a solution. It was created to allow product affordability as it was a cheap material to produce and package products. This came with multiple socioeconomic benefits. However, the vicious industry of plastic has grown uncontrollably and a cheap solution to produce affordable products turned to be the premises of an environmental crisis. In the last half a century plastic production increased by 20 times; every decade the amount of the produced plastic doubles. It is used in almost every part of our daily lives. Nonetheless, an incredible amount of produced and used plastic ends up to be waste descending everywhere from urban public spaces to nature. ~8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year and shaped by ocean circulation, these huge masses of plastic waste understandably pose an immediate problem for our planet. It is estimated that in the decades to come there is going to be more plastic than fish in our oceans.

There are technical solutions suggesting how to clean oceans and nature. Yet, not every smart solution is about technology; it is about people. Technology progresses daily, the know-how and advanced techniques for recycling have been in place for years already. However – some screws are still missing – only a very limited portion of the urban population makes the actual effort to separate and appreciate recycled products. That said, it is human behavior and perceptions to plastic use and reuse that need be altered to stop the plastic waste polluting the environment all over again.

Thus, the real value of an effective solution to a societal challenge is deeply entrenched in social factors and public acceptance. Therefore, after assembling local knowledge and needs with regards to waste separation and simultaneously supervising conscious behavior in Amsterdam Noord and beyond, WASTED has developed a complementary branch to its reward system; apart from incentivizing the local community to separate their household waste, the WASTED team has invested a great deal of its energy into educational activities.

WASTED has been breaking myths – the learning process how to use, reuse and recycle has been proven to be entertaining and fun.

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WASTED education consists of series of classes tailored specifically to the client’s needs.  WASTED education sessions can be customised to the needs of school children or university students and professionals depending on their current knowledge about plastic, hence, everyone, who is interested in studying plastic life cycle, understanding the problems of plastic waste, and finding innovative solutions to environmental challenges, is encouraged to take part. Through the WASTED educational activities, people are invited to co-create plastic objects, and also find out the value of waste separation. This is possible thanks to the WASTED laboratory, which is designed to repurpose plastic waste and co-create new products. For this purpose, WASTED has worked together with local residents, organizations and schools to collect plastic waste from local areas and to reprocess it to WASTED modular blocks: colorful building blocks, which can be used for various purposes, for example, constructing flower pots or park benches in the neighborhood.

After taking WASTED classes, participants become Plastic Experts, who are aware and actively involved in plastic recycling processes. This contributes to a bigger goal – it motivates people to make conscious choices regarding the use of plastic. It reassures that:

 

we, through both individual and collective action, are capable of making the difference.

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 The WASTED Educational Package includes:

The WASTED Presentation | PLASTIC ADDICTION

We cannot live without plastic, we are all addicted to it. Through this session, participants are shaken by the number of problems that plastic waste creates around us. Additionally, together with the WASTED team participants compile an inventory of all plastic types that are used daily. This activity enables to see how much we addicted to plastic. This is presented in a funny and entertaining way through an interactive presentation about the history and future of plastic.

The WASTED Crash Course | PLASTIC ARCHEOLOGY

After a short introduction, participants are divided into groups. Through various experiments groups explore different plastic objects that are made of different plastic types. Activities are finalized by group presentations, where the importance of recognizing different types of plastics is explained.

The WASTED WORKSHOP | WASTED LABORATORY

At the laboratory, the plastic waste is processed to the WASTED blocks. In order to prepare for this process, the plastic waste is collected from the neighborhood, sorted in the laundry area and cleaned. During the workshop participants first, are introduced to the different stages of the production process. Later they are able to brainstorm together what objects could be constructed from the melted plastic, which is later made into recycled plastic blocks. The workshop is culminated by constructing a real object, for example, a bench or a real WASTED trash bin.

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The WASTED Educational package has been developed and based on the proven methods of Kempton and Holland’s study from 2014 “Uncovering Students Environmental Identity”, for environmental issues. The lesson package started in May 2015 at four high schools in Amsterdam North: The Clusius College, Hogelant, Rosa Occupation College and the Hyperion Lyceum and also tailored to young professionals. Together with the workshops’ participants, more than 30 blocks have been created and a number of new objects made for the neighborhood.

For more information and to discuss the possibilities of customised education sessions, contact elisha@wastedlab.nl

Created on 04 May 2017

Related research themes

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