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Last reviewed: Thu, 19 Mar 2015

A Waste of Time - Hangaruatia

Students learning how materials are sorted at the Materials Recovery Facility.

Students will gain an insight into the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle aspects of the waste management hierarchy.

Highlighted by visits to the:

EcoSort - Students will investigate the importance of reducing over recycling before exploring how the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) seperates the resources from the Recycling (yellow top) wheelie bins, then explore what products these resources can be recycled / made into.

EcoDrop - A quick drive past the recycling drop off area to identify resources that can be dropped off for reuse and recycling that are not part of the kerbside collection

EcoShop - A leap into the future as students are invited to imagine they are moving into a new flat, so need to decide which items they would purchase with their designated budget  This activity reinforces the concept of Reuse.

Year level: 5–13 
Curriculum level:2-8
Availability: Available year round
Times:9.15am-11.45am or 12.15pm-2.30pm
Site: EcoSort (Parkhouse Road Materials Recovery Facility, 'MRF' Limited parking available at this site), EcoDrop, EcoShop (SuperShed, Blenheim Road)
Number of classes: One at a time (One class = 35 students)

Requirements: Closed-in shoes must be worn

Programme outline

Key concepts
Waste minimisation and management issues, waste heirarchy, recycling technology, sustainability, personal and social action.

Lesson description/intention
Your students will visit:

EcoSort (Recycling Plant at the Materials Recovery Facility, 'MRF')

  • Students will participate in activities to identify key reasons for, and how to go about, reducing waste and have hands-on experience of the products made from recycled materials.

Note: Due to health and safety reasons, students will not be going into the EcoSort (Materials Recovery Facility).


  • Students will have the opportunity to see where materials that cannot be recycled through the yellow wheelie bin CAN be dropped; some of these resources will go to the...

EcoShop (SuperShed)

  • An opportunity for students to get creative and clever with the pre-used materials at the EcoShop (SuperShed) to meet a 'Changing Rooms' challenge.

Note: All sites are visited over the course of the programme.

Possible success criteria
Students may be able to:

  • Organise the key waste actions into a hierarchy order of importance for waste minimisation.
  • Explain how recycling plays a crucial part in minimising our carbon foot print.
  • Give examples of how reusing products is an important step in the waste hierarchy.

Key Competencies

  • Thinking - students will be presented with information and activities to enable them to decide how best to act in terms of reducing waste
  • Managing self - as a result of learning undertaken throughout the programme, students will be challenged to set themselves an individual goal to reduce, reuse or recycle over the 4 weeks following the programme

Learning areas


Nature of science

Level 5–8
  • Participating and contributing
Material WorldLevel 3
  •  Properties and changes of matter
TechnologyNature of technologyLevel 4
  •  Characteristics of technology
Technological knowledgeLevel 4
  •  Technological products
Social sciences

Social studies






Social Studies

Level 3
  • Understand how people view and use places differently
  • Understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources
Level 4
  • Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments
  • Understand how producers and consumers exercise their rights and meet their responsibilites
Level 5
  • Understand how people's management of resources impact on environmental and social sustainability
Level 6
  •  Understand how cultures adapt and change and that this has consequences for society
Health and physical education Healthy communities and environments Level 6–7
  • People and the environment

Authorising Unit: Business Support

Last reviewed: Thursday, 19 March 2015

Next review: Saturday, 19 March 2016

Keywords: learning resources, learning through action, waste, waste management

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