Trash culture

The last few weeks I’ve been sharing aspects of trash culture with my students. I began with a song my father used to love to sing to me when I was quite young. It is Oscar the Grouch’s song “I Love Trash” from Sesame Street:

Then I shared another favourite song of mine by Pete Seeger entitled “Garbage” which has a fabulous environmental theme and a rhythm that the little kids seem to love:

I also read to them the book Trash!: On Ragpicker Children and Recycling by Gita Wolf and Anushka Ravishankar,and iIllustrated by Orijit Sen.


This is a terrific book to read to children (as are all of Tara Books). At its core is a wonderful story about two children who spend their days picking through garbage bins all over Chennai looking for paper, plastic, and glass that they can sell to a scrap dealer. The images are fantastic–especially the one of Rajnikanth–and the story is quite engaging. For teachers, there are also wonderful activities and discussion points embedded throughout the story. Each one enables you to explore a subject from waste segregation to child labour to making recycled paper at home. It was a nice way to end the term.

Now the children are going home for the Deepavali holidays and they will be working on their homework assignment, which is:

1. Select 1 object in your house
2. Research what it’s made of
3. Find out where its materials come from
4. Find out what will happen to it when you’re done with it
5. Draw a picture telling the story of this object’s life cycle

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