Plastic Reuse Project – A Learning Activity for Grades 9-12

Grades 9-12
Subjects: Business, Career Education, English Language Arts, Literacy, Math


In this activity, students will divert plastic from the landfill or a recycling bin and turn it into a sellable product.  Students will explore issues with plastic recycling and contemplate how to help solve environmental issues.

What You’ll Need

  • Plastic materials – Students could bring in items from their home or the teacher could collect items on their behalf. This could include plastic bottles (shampoo, dish soap, etc.), bags (shopping bags, bread bags, etc.), packaging, etc.  There should be more items than the number of students so that there is choice when creating their product.
  • Other supplies for construction might include:
    o tape
    o glue
    o scissors
    o string
    o paper
    o markers
    o paint/paint brushes


  1. Day One:
    1. Have students brainstorm a list of all the plastic items that go into recycling boxes or the garbage. After brainstorming, can they estimate and share how many plastic items their families dispose of in one week?
    2. As a think-pair-share activity, have students discuss what happens to those plastic items.
    3. Watch the video, “Tracking your plastic: exposing recycling myths” by CBC Marketplace:
  1. Day Two and Three:
    1. Explain to students that for the next two days, they will be creating new items out of plastic. The goal would be to create a something that could be sold for a profit, which would also divert the plastic away from landfills or recycling boxes.
    2. This project could culminate in a show and tell or an official presentation.


Possible Extensions:

  • Showcase the created products so that others in the school can see the ideas, and students can have a chance to explain their them.
  • Use this project as an example of marketing and have students develop marketing strategies and promotional materials to help reduce plastic use.
  • Have students determine where their product could be sold, a selling price, cost of any materials and an estimate of projected sales.

Global Competencies:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
  • Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
  • Self-Awareness and Self-Management
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Sustainability and Global Citizenship


Entrepreneurship 110 Curricular Outcomes:

G.C.O. 1.0 Students demonstrate entrepreneurial concept.

1.6  Students will generate a potential venture concept connecting entrepreneurship and the environment.

G.C.O.2.0 Students initiate improvements through the implementation of a venture

2.1 Students will learn to create and maintain a business network to support a business and solve a problem

2.2 Students will present a venture concept, demonstrating adequate/accepted research methods

2.5 Students will meet deadlines, exercise time management and capitalizing on skills of classmates

Intro Environmental Science 

Unit 3: Investigating Environmental Issues: In this unit, the class will explore specific environmental issues in depth, interspersing student presentations as appropriate. The choice of which issues and how many issues to study is at the teacher’s discretion, with the caveat that each topic be studied in sufficient depth to ensure students achieve a thorough understanding of the issue from economic, social, cultural and environmental perspectives.

Business Organization Management 120: 

GCO 1: Students will identify the differences between ethical and unethical behaviour

SCO 4: Delineate the business’s responsibility to employees, society, consumers, investors and the environment.

GCO 2: Students will identify the variables and complexities that affect managerial decision-making in New Brunswick

SCO 2: Analyze why the business environment is important to organizations.

World Issues 120:

            GCO 2: Interdependence: Students will examine their own place within the interdependent systems that link humans to each other and the natural world

            SCO 2.2: Analyze actions that support pear and sustainability. Sustainability of sustainable development: Students will be able to investigate and provide examples of sustainability individually, locally and globally.

            SCO 2.3: demonstrate personal and social responsibility for a peaceful and sustainable world. Citizenship: Students will be able to speak about the importance of global citizenship and sustainability; engage in sustainable activities; and solve problems as well as propose solutions to enhance social responsibility and peace.

This learning resource was created by Janet Seeley, teacher at Harbourview High School.