Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Through independent research, students will learn the design and purpose behind the Australasian Recycling Labels. They will then creatively communicate these understandings and the Labels to others in the form of an informative advertising poster.

This lesson has been developed as part of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. By participating in National Recycling Week you’ll be joining thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change. Take part in the Schools Recycling Right Challenge for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. Register your lesson or other activities today!


Learning intentions:

  • Students can identify the three Australasian Recycling Labels on a piece of packaging, and discern between their different meanings, thereby equipping themselves with the tools to minimise waste and manage material resources responsibly at home, work and school.
  • Students discuss the purpose behind these labels and their use
  • Students communicate these understandings to others in a creative way.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCreative ThinkingEntrepreneurshipEthical UnderstandingGlobal Citizenship 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 3 & 4 HPE

  • Identify and practice strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS036)
  • Discuss and interpret health information and messages in the media and internet (ACPPS039)

Year 3 Science

  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE051)
  • Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations (ACSIS060)

Year 4 Science

  • Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use (ACSSU074)
  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)
  • Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations (ACSIS071)

Year 3 & 4 Technologies:

  • Explore factors, including sustainability that impact on the design of products, services and environments to meet community needs (ACTDEK010)
  • Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011)

Year 3 & 4 Visual Arts:

  • Use materials, techniques and processes to explore visual conventions when making artworks (ACAVAM111)
  • Present artworks and describe how they have used visual conventions to represent their ideas (ACAVAM112)

Syllabus outcomes:  PHS2.12, SLS2.13, ST2-4WS, ST2-11LW, ST2-13MW, ST2-11LW, ST2-13MW, ST2-14BE, ST2-15I, ST2-16P, VAS2.1, VAS2.2

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 3&4 achievement standards: 

  • Students use formal and informal ways to communicate their observations and findings.
  • By the end of Year 4, students apply the observable properties of materials to explain how objects and materials can be used.
  • By the end of Year 4, students describe how social, technical and sustainability factors influence the design of solutions to meet present and future needs.
  • Students make artworks that communicate ideas.

Topic: National Recycling Week, Sustainability, Waste

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: National Recycling Week – Primary

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – Teacher to introduce the topic and general ideas, and allow students to explore and research independently.

Resources required:

  • Activity Sheets (optional)
  • Coloured pencils
  • Device capable of presenting video to the class
  • Digital research device, such as an iPad or computer
  • Mascot Images
  • Paper (A3).

Keywords: Recycling, Australasian Recycling Label, Planet Ark, National Recycling Week, poster, design, research


This lesson plan is made possible with funding from Unilever.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … discover a detailed understanding of the Australasian Recycling Label, and the evidence and intention behind it
  • … creatively communicate their understandings of how the Australasian Recycling Labels function, ingraining the tools of waste minimisation responsibly at home and school.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … understand and summarise the evidence-based system behind the Australasian Recycling Label
  • … critically evaluate the purpose and intention behind the Australasian Recycling Label
  • … effectively and creatively communicate these understandings to others.

Teacher content information:

The Australasian Recycling Label is a system that provides you with easy to understand recycling information in order to remove confusion, save time, and reduce waste going to landfill.

The Australasian Recycling Labels with text to explain their meaning

Australians and New Zealanders care about the environment and want to do the right thing. When we dispose of our waste correctly,

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