Program details

Through this program students will develop an appreciation of the impact of plastic waste on the environment and will investigate creative and entrepreneurial solutions to this challenge.

Not only is plastic causing significant environmental damage, but it is also made from a limited non-renewable resource. Research into the potential of recycled plastic shows it as a valuable material for creating new, innovative and exciting products. This program will inspire students to look for opportunities to make positive environmental change at a local level whilst demonstrating their creativity and developing their entrepreneurship skills.

On the first day of the program students will learn about the design process. They will then be introduced to some Australian companies that have leveraged the potential of the recycling economy to create small businesses. The chemical and structural properties of different plastics and upcycled plastic materials will also be investigated.

On the second day of the program students will focus on the design and prototyping of their product using recycled plastics. Team work and presentation skills will be developed during this part of the program.

Students will leave with a prototyped upcycled plastic product, an understanding of the design process and an understanding of the science of plastic recycling.

Learning program overview

Students will take on the role of an upcycled plastic materials researcher and investigate the potential of a range of recycled plastics. Students will develop a new product based on the research and design thinking they have undertaken.

  • Engage: Understand the impact of plastic waste on the environment and the nature of finite resources
  • Define: The types of plastic recycled, industries and the research and development process
  • Skills: be able to identify plastic and different recycled plastic materials
  • Ideate: Upcycle a new product in response to needs identified in "Define"
  • Prototype: Build products from recycled plastic materials
  • Present: Pitch a new product

1-day program only includes - Engage - Define - Skills with learnings continued back at school

Success criteria

  • Connection of sensory awareness/empathy towards product design and marketing
  • Application of technology and science to design and prototype a product
  • Implementation of the design process to create a new product
  • Communication of new knowledge through the product pitch

Pathway examples

  • Artisans: Product Designer, Marketer, Manufacturer
  • Designers: Industrial Designer, Materials Researcher