- Adapted from AVR - Teachers'
Resource Guide, Association for Vermont Recyclers
- Back to Trash Goes to School
- GRADE LEVELS:
- SUBJECT AREAS:
Packaging is useful and necessary for many reasons, but also
contributes significantly to our society's solid waste problems.
Students will explore different aspects of packaging design
and will use these guidelines in their own design project.
magazines and drawing materials
- Functions and benefits of packaging:
- * preservation and protection of contents
* sanitation and safety, protection of public health
* identification of product
* prevention of theft
* providing instruction as to product use
* compliance with regulatory standards
* manufacturing of packaging provides employment
* increased sales and profits by making the product attractive
* may decrease cost of product to consumer
- Drawbacks of packaging:
- * contributes significantly to solid
waste (1/3 of our trash is packaging). Without reuse or recycling,
the energy and natural resources that go into packaging are lost
forever in landfills
* may create false impression about the amount or quality of
* may increase the cost of a product to the consumer
- How could packaging be designed to
- 1. Have students bring in products
from home or look in lunch bags for packaged items. Consider
the following questions:
- - Which packages minimize waste? How?
- Which packages produce a lot of waste? How?
- What are possible ways to reuse or recycle each of the packages
- Are there any that can't be reused or recycled? Why?
- What qualities do the natural forms of packaging have that
many of our modern packaging lack?
- How might some of the over-packaged or wastefully packaged
items be better packaged?
- 2. Have students choose one of the
products for which they would like to design an alternative package.
- 3. Ask the students to look at their
products and decide what the designers were trying to accomplish.
Discuss the functions and drawbacks of packaging. Are any of
the products or packages designed to protect the environment?
- 4. Have the students design a new environmentally-sound
alternative to their packaging. The design should take into consideration
waste reduction, reuse, and recycling as well as public safety,
product protection, shipping weight, cost of packaging material,
advertising, and public demand. New design parameters should
include some or all of the following: minimum resource extraction,
minimum use of hazardous materials, minimum mixing of different
materials, etc. How do these new parameters conflict with or
limit the old ones?
- 5. Have the students make drawings
of prototypes, present them to the class and explain how their
design decisions were made.
Explore what makes students decide what items to purchase.
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