Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Children interact with a range of materials and consider the properties of materials used in packaging and container packaging. They explore what materials can be recycled including what can be recycled with the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (ACT CDS). They then work together to create new bins or labelling to reflect which materials are eligible for recycling.

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme (ACT CDS) was introduced by the ACT Government in 2018 as a litter reduction initiative. Participants collect and return their eligible drink containers at an ACT CDS return point for a 10 cent refund on each. For further information about the ACT CDS, please visit

This lesson plan has been developed by Cool Australia, in collaboration with Exchange for Change, the scheme coordinator for the ACT CDS, as part of a suite of curriculum-linked resources for teachers that support schools’ participation in the scheme and enable teachers to discuss the environmental benefits of the scheme as part of their sustainability lessons.

EYLF Learning Outcome


Outcome 2:

Children are connected with and contribute to the world

4. Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment.

Outcome 4:

Children are involved and confident learners

2. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

Outcome 5:

Children are effective communicators

4. Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work ACT CDS School Resources.

Time required: 60 mins.

Resources required:

Keywords: Waste, resources, reuse, recycle, recycling, materials, hands-on, investigative, ACT container deposit scheme.

The team at Cool Australia continually reviews and refines our Early Learning resources in line with expert advice and current educational practices.


Teacher Worksheet

Background information

Learning goals: 

  • Children understand that things have different properties and are made of different materials.
  • Children understand how to sort waste between recycling and landfill.


Step 1. Collect a range of different waste items that vary in colour, weight, shape and texture. For example, you could gather a tin can, a soft drink bottle, a milk carton, a juice box, a chocolate bar wrapper, a chip bag, newspaper, etc. 

Make sure all waste is cleaned with soap and brushes, and sharp edges have been covered with masking tape.

Step 2. Lay all the waste items you have collected out onto a sensory table where the children can see and touch them.

Teaching Sequence

Step 1. Ask children to inspect the items, to interact with them, and to verbally describe them.

Prompt their thinking by asking:

  • What is this item?
  • What shape is it or does it remind you of? Maybe there are multiple shapes?
  • Is this item heavy or light?
  • How does this ite
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