2022 Eco 360 Challenge Showcase
Transitioning to a circular economy for plastic waste.
Kg of Potential Plastic Waste Diverted Per Year
The Eco 360 Challenge
This challenge tasks learners with proposing an innovative solution to the problem of plastic waste in our environment. Through the activities and lessons in the Eco 360 Program, learners will explore how a circular economic model can be applied to create a more sustainable future for plastics.
First Place $1,000
Second Place $500
Robert Thirsk, Grade 10Calgary, Alberta
While Savy Way took off and has plans to be implemented in the school next fall, five other groups of students from Mr. Lake's class took on the Eco 360 Challenge and proposed their own innovation plans for plastic in their lives:
Group 1"One man's trash is another man's treasure"
After discovering that a lot of clothing made of plastic ends up in landfills, causing pollution on land and in our oceans. Group 1 proposed a solution to minimize plastic and fashion waste. They would create an in-school thrift store station where students and community members can trade and receive clothes in an organized swap. By cutting down on the purchases of new clothing and reducing the plastic waste from shipping clothing items, individuals can cut down on their impact. Group 1 would also have sustainable solutions throughout the station, such as clothing racks and hangers made of recycled materials.
Group 2's solution aims to ensure proper recycling through awareness, transparency and accountability. They would take steps to ensure that students, staff and visitors to the school are aware of what items are recyclable, refundable compostable, etc. in order to build a culture of social responsibility. Focusing on the effects of plastic waste on water, they would create an awareness campaign to ensure that items are properly recycled where possible.
Concerned with the plastic waste being found in rivers and streams, as well as the potential for this plastic to end up in the ocean, Group 3 proposed an educational campaign. This campaign would aim to research and communicate their findings about the problems and solutions to plastic waste in our waters.
Addressing the single use, plastic containers and utensils used in school lunches, Group 4 proposes a solution to replace all food packaging with compostable alternatives. By decreasing the reliance on plastics and the production of consumer waste we can reduce our plastic impact.
Noticing the plastic waste floating around their school yard, Group 5 proposes a three-pronged approached that would ensure changes to the physical recycling infrastructure, available consumption habits and student awareness to tackle this multidimensional problem.
Grade 9 and 10 students from Waterloo Region's Ontario Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Programs participated in virtual after-school events where they engaged in an interactive Eco 360 presentation all about creating a circular economy for plastic waste before working in groups to answer the place-based challenge question:
How might we eliminate plastic waste from our high schools?
Groups were directed by experts and supported by facilitators on taking a human-centred design approach to this problem. Students reached their final proposals after creative, collaborative and interdisciplinary discussions. At the end of each event, groups gave a short presentation outlining their innovative solution to the question. From incinerating plastic waste for energy to creating a digital game that rewards players for good recycling practices, many ideas were explored and discussed. The chats of each event also featured lively discussions about the students' personal experiences with plastic waste in their lives and their hopes for a more sustainable the future.
Recycle and WinBelieving student actions have the power to make an impact on their school plastic waste footprint, this solution proposes to give incentives for students to recycle items beyond the standard blue and green bins. The group would promote their initiative throughout the school and provide incentives, such as field trips to local recycling facilities and pizza lunches for students who participate.
Remake Studio Interested in the skills needed to lead a less wasteful life, this solution proposes creating a school class or club that refurbishes broken and unused items. Students would learn how to repair, rebuild or reuse various common items that could be sold at seasonal auctions. The money raised would go towards recycling campaign events for students and educational field trips.
Homeroom Face-offRecognizing the power of group behaviour change, this solution proposes creating a digital game where students can earn points towards a homeroom competition for logging their sustainable plastic habits. Actions such as washing out containers before recycling them and using reusable containers can get students closer to earning a pizza and dessert party at the end of the year.
iCycleConcerned with the turnover rate of electronic devices, such as laptops and cell phones, this solution proposes hosting a used and broken electronics drive. Students returning devices for the drive would be entered to choose a prize that could help make the school more sustainable, such as inviting in a guest speaker or touring a recycling facility.
Holding Businesses Accountable
Disappointed with a lack of sustainable consumer options, this solution proposes a two-fold campaign. First, they would evaluate local businesses and make suggestions on how they could improve their plastic practices and offer more sustainable take-out and product options. Second, they would have students petition these businesses, demanding changes. They would use social medias, such as tik tok, to create content that educates students on consumer choices.
Knowing youth already care about recycling and the environment, this solution proposes ways for students to get involved in hands-on work relating to plastic clean up. They plan to host an educational campaign with school assemblies, promotional posters and social media to to promote the rate and issues of plastic waste in our environment. They would then provide opportunities, through school clubs, nature leadership programs and conservation associations, for students to get involved in reducing plastic waste in their local environment.
Eco 360 In Action
Celebrating the many different ways learners and educators from across Canada were engaged in creating a circular economy for plastics through GreenLearning's Eco 360 Program.
Learners Participated in a Classroom Workshop or Event
Educators Participated in a Professional Development Session
Student and Teacher Sessions Delivered
Interactive, Virtual Learning
GreenLearning facilitated curriculum-connected classroom workshops that engaged and inspired students from across the world to think creatively about creating a circular economy for plastic waste. Click below to watch (or bookmark) an Eco 360 classroom workshop for grades 9-12.
Empowering Educators Through Professional Development
GreenLearning supported educator professional development through workshops at conferences, conventions, webinars and professional development days across Canada. We presented workshops, such as Eco 360: Transitioning to a Circular Economy for the Peel EcoSchools Webinar Series and Addressing Secondary Eco-Anxiety Through Solutions-Focused Challenges at Alberta Teacher Association Conventions.
Oceans and Climate: Live From the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland
Innovating and learning about how to create a circular economy for plastic waste with students, educators and partners across the world at events, campaigns and conferences, such as; Learning For A Sustainable Future's Youth Forums, The Centre For Global Education's World Water Day Conference, Take Me Outside Day, Earth Week events and more.
What are students and teachers saying?
"Some of the ideas we came up with were pretty cool and it actually felt like we could have an impact for once. Usually people think more like "there's a problem but there's no way that I could just fix it myself it's too big"
Grade 10 Student Participant
"It helped me have more knowledge about how important we should talk more about consuming plastics and how it effects our society, I found that this event helped me to understand that taking action and better communication to our society would provide a benefit for all of us."
GRADE 9 STUDENT PARTICIPANT
"All information presented can be applied to any Canadian Geography or Environmental Classes being offered at the Secondary level"
SECONDARY TEACHER, ONTARIO
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Activity link under private class group.