Ever wondered what happens to your recycling after it is collected from the kerbside?

Group of school kidsWhere does it go, and what is it recycled into? On this programme students learn about the reduce, reuse and recycle aspects of the waste management hierarchy at three key sites: EcoSort, EcoDrop, and EcoShop.

EcoSort - Students will investigate the importance of reducing over recycling before exploring how the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) separates the resources from the recycling (yellow top) wheelie bins, then explore what products these resources can be recycled 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 to 13 
Curriculum level 2 to 8
Availability Year-round
Times 9.15am to 11.45am or 12.15pm to 2.30pm
Sites EcoSort Parkhouse Road - Materials Recovery Facility (MRF),
EcoDrop Parkhouse Road - EcoDepot/Refuse Station,


Cost Free
Number of students Maximum of 35
Requirements Closed-in shoes must be worn

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 MRF)

  • Students will participate in activities to identify key reasons for, and how to go about, reducing waste, and gain 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 MRF.


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

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 footprint
  • 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 four weeks following the programme.
Learning Areas
Strands Curriculum level Achievement objectives
Science Nature of science 5 to 8 Participating and contributing
Science Material world 3 Properties and changes of matter
Technology Nature of technology 4 Characteristics of technology
Technology Technological knowledge 4 Technological products
Social sciences Social studies 3 Understand how people view and use places differently
Social sciences Social studies   Understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources
Social sciences Social studies 4 Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments
Social sciences Social studies   Understand how producers and consumers exercise their rights and meet their responsibilities
Social sciences Social studies 5 Understand how people's management of resources impact on environmental and social sustainability
Social sciences Social studies 6 Understand how cultures adapt and change and that this has consequences for society
Health and physical education Healthy communities and   environments 6 to7 People and the environment