5 engaging ideas for Zero Waste Week

Content Team
Share this page
Awareness Days
Zero Waste Week takes place this year between 5th and 9th of September. The aim of this awareness week is to encourage people to consider the environmental impact of waste, reduce landfill and rethink the waste they generate in their lives. It’s a topic that is important to us at Lyfta and several of our storyworlds explore the theme. This blog looks at 5 easy ways to get your school children involved in Zero Waste Week.
Landfill from a scene in Andrea's Yard Lyfta Storyworld
Landfill from a scene in Andrea's Yard Lyfta Storyworld

1. Do a waste audit and explore how waste can be reused

Lyfta and sustainability
This means putting on your rubber gloves and emptying the bins! For this exercise get the children to go through the school bins (with suitable protective clothing!) and then sort out the waste into different materials. They can then think about what could be recycled and what is actually landfill. This is a good way to introduce the topic of waste and landfill and get children to consider how much waste the average person creates each day.
You can find out more on how to run a waste audit at Zero Waste Week.
Andrea's Yard, from Argentina is one of many Lyfta storyworlds exploring sustainability and waste reduction. The storyworld, with integrated rich media articles and associated lesson plans are an ideal resource for Zero waste Week. Students can meet Andrea who collects waste material from the landfill site near her home, separating usable materials from waste. They will be able to hear Andrea's story and explore her backyard in 360° to see the treasures she has collected from the landfill site and how she reuses them. Even Andrea's chair is made out of reused materials!
This storyworld introduces the issue of landfill and asks who creates the least waste: the UK, Finland or Argentina? They will also see how large a pile of rubbish the average British person creates every single year.

2. Host an assembly

If you're not yet subscribed to Lyfta, you can still use our Beachcomber storyworld for free when you create a Lyfta starter account. Beachcomber tells the story of Rob, an activist and artist from Cornwall. Rob creates artwork from the plastic and rubbish he finds on the beach and uses his artwork to raise awareness about plastic pollution and inspires people to think about littering and the choices they make as consumers.
The storyworld includes a powerful short film, immersive 360-degree environments, and lesson and assembly plans covering sustainability and materials.
Sign up for a free account here - it takes less than a minute and no credit card is required.

3. Create a Zero Waste Week art exhibition

Lyfta environmental art competition 2022 winner from Beaconsfield Primary School
Lyfta environmental art competition 2022 winner from Beaconsfield Primary School
Leading on from the assembly, why not get children to create a piece of art themselves using waste materials either from school or home. You could hold a school-wide exhibition at the end and inspire others with the work.
If you need some inspiration then read our blog which showcases some examples of art made from waste in our recent Earth Day competition.

4. Get hands-on! Mend, recycle, reuse and upcycle!

Tony from Phone Box Saviour Lyfta storyworld, restoring an old phone box to be reused
Tony from Phone Box Saviour Lyfta storyworld, restoring an old phone box to be reused
Encourage students to bring in an item that can be mended, recycled or upcycled.
  • They could mend an item of clothing or fix a broken toy.
  • Or upcycle an item - make an old t-shirt into a tote bag or an old pair of socks into a sock puppet.
  • Or recycle an item. Old jam jars, plastic cartons and boxes could be decorated and used as pen holders, storage boxes or plant pots.
The Wildlife Trust have some ideas for upcycling and recycling.
Lyfta users can also view our storyworld, Phone Box Saviour. Here we meet Tony, who saves old red telephone boxes in England. Tony values these old classic phone boxes because a lot of time and energy has been put into building them and they have outlasted their duties as objects which helped us to communicate. The original phone boxes were probably not built for anything other than as places to house telephones, but because they are built of such durable materials they can be reused in many ways after careful restoration.
Tony describes how rewarding it is to give these objects new life. You will also notice that it requires a lot of skills and knowledge to restore a phone box. You can ask students if they have seen any old telephone boxes being used and some of the creative ways people have used salvaged phone boxes. Students may come up with their own ideas of how they could be used.

5. Zero Waste Lunchbox competition

Which class can produce the least amount of waste from lunch? Get the children to take out their lunchboxes during Zero Waste Week and talk about what is in there that is single-use plastic and what it could be replaced with. By the end of the week they could try and bring in a zero waste lunch.
Friends of the Earth have plenty of ideas on how to reduce your everyday plastic.
Global Learning
Human Stories
Sustainability & Global Citizenship
Character & Values
Earth Day