Plastic homework

Today in Garbology class the students shared their homework assignment. They had to each bring in a piece of plastic they found in the trash. Below is the loot they brought:

 

For each item we discussed where it came from, why it was necessary–or if it was–and what alternatives we might be able to come up with.

Some of the plastic they had with them was quite appalling, especially that associated with packaging. One girl’s parents sent her a stuffed toy via Amazon.in that was wrapped in 3 different plastic bags. Another child’s mother sent her soap and shampoo (though we have a tuck shop on campus with lots of great organic and locally produced stuff) via Amazon.in; in this package there were plastic bags filled with air!

Other items were what you would expect: biscuit and chocolate wrappers, a wrapper from a Boost bottle, a bag that was filled with cashews, and various plastic bags used for storing medicine, batteries, and snacks.

There was also a broken plastic hanger and a broken shuttlecock (from badminton).

I engaged them a bit on alternatives–what might be other ways to keep food fresh, for example. Are there ways that nature keeps things fresh? Can we figure out how to mimic that in a way that is healthier?

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