Why should we recycle?

Lesson overview

In this design and technology Key Stage 3 (KS3) lesson, students identify why they should recycle and how to encourage others to recycle more. Included are teacher resources for students to apply user-centred design principles to redesign a recycling bin to encourage recycling.

Learning outcomes
  • Identify what can and cannot be recycled
  • Describe how you currently recycle
  • Analyse trends in recycling behaviours
  • Examine the different ways to recycle different materials
  • Design a new method of recycling based on user-centred design.
Lesson steps
  1. What things can I recycle? (10 mins)
    Students look at images of objects and group them into things that they believe can and cannot be recycled.
  2. How do you recycle? (10 mins)
    Students complete survey on what they do and do not recycle. They then tally a score to find out how good they are at recycling compared to their peers.
  3. What happens when we recycle? (10 mins)
    Recycling has lots of steps. Students investigate how to mechanically recycle a plastic bottle by ordering each step.
  4. What would a user-centred recycling bin look like? (25 mins)
    Applying new knowledge of what can and cannot be recycled, alongside the survey data of recycling behaviours, students design a user centred recycling bin.
  5. What can be recycled? (5 mins)
    Students complete a quiz testing their knowledge of what can be recycled.