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Aliens are coming! Free interactive resources for KST teach the importance of recycling plastic

by Carolyn Cross | Jun 17, 2021
‘Just one person can make a difference.’ #sortitout, a new collaboration between the UK largest compliance scheme, Valpak, and plastics recycling charity RECOUP, teaches KS2 children about plastics recycling. The free, interactive PDF follows the story of a littering alien and the shows different outcomes for the planet, based on responsible (and sometimes less responsible!) behaviour.

 

Key Stage 2 teachers said the story sparked discussion around the volume of plastic thrown away each year, how this might impact living creatures, and how we can all make a difference.

Steve Gough, CEO of Valpak, said: “Littering is a major contributor to plastic waste making its way into the oceans, so we hope that teaching children about littering in a fun way will spark ideas that will have a big impact. RECOUP’s expertise on plastics was invaluable in developing this resource and we hope to build on our work together in the future.”

Valpak and RECOUP have previously worked in partnership to deliver sessions in schools but, due to current restrictions, they decided to develop virtual resources instead. The free, interactive PDF joins our visiting alien as he plays in the park and on the beach, following discarded plastic bottles all the way to the sea. Children make choices to generate their own story; if they choose to recycle the bottles, they are rewarded with an in-depth video showing the plastic recycling process.

Anne Hitch, Citizen & Stakeholder Engagement Manager, RECOUP, said: “During previous face-face assemblies at schools, it was evident that having the conversation about recycling encouraged students to ask questions and ignited their interest in the environment. They were very keen to understand what happens to plastic packaging when recycled. We are delighted to be able to work with Valpak to continue to deliver this message directly to young consumers and hope that the introduction of the new workbook will help expand the number of people learning about plastics recycling and how by being responsible we can all help protect the environment."

Joanne Welch, Head Teacher at St Catharine’s Primary School, added: “The alien story and recycling video were really effective, and the video gives much more detail than usual about the recycling process.

The resources help us meet Year 1 and 2 National Curriculum Science targets for Everyday Materials, and Year 5 targets on the Properties and Changes of Materials. They are also closely aligned with one of our school’s core values – care for creation.”

Miss Wright, a Year 4 teacher at Wellesbourne C of E Primary School, said: “We thought the alien was quite funny, and particularly loved the way we could make choices and go back to check out the other choice.

This is a great starting point for teaching about the problem with plastic. I would love to add this to my teaching tools.”

#sortitout was developed as a collaboration between two recycling and environmental experts. As the UK’s largest environmental compliance scheme, Valpak works with recyclers, leading brands, and local authorities. RECOUP (RECycling of Used Plastics Limited) was set up to advise packaging producers, users and recyclers on best practice for plastics recycling value chain.

To bring the alien to a classroom near you, visit: https://www.recoup.org/p/389/sort-it-out-recycling-journey