What do your students think about waste? 

This series lets you bring the topic of waste management to a multitude of subjects, engaging students in the curriculum through topical content. Lessons have been developed for the following levels:

In Australia, we began addressing the issue of waste in the 1960s and ’70s with litter campaigns like Keep Australia Beautiful and Tidy Town Awards. With such a long history of waste reduction campaigns, you would think we had got on top of the waste issue; however, as the recent recycling crisis shows, we’re still trying to solve the issue of waste in Australia.

Confusion about what to do with waste and how to avoid it, combined with increasingly distressing news stories about the impact of waste on our environment, can lead to a sense of despair. Digging deeply into this topic and finding out about real-world examples of what you can do is crucial to empowering people and addressing this despair.

Cool Australia’s War On Waste lessons have been developed in partnership with Lune Media and with support from the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network.

Foundation, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3

Visit the War On Waste website. Watch War On Waste using the links below:

View the full unit here.

Tuning into Plastic Waste

Plastic Waste in our Ocean

Finding out about Single-Use Plastics

Solving School Waste Problems


In this lesson, students are introduced to the topics of plastic and plastic waste. They begin by identifying the composition of a range of different everyday objects before focusing on plastic and the places that plastic is used in the classroom.

Science, Visual Arts

Students explore the problem of plastic waste in our oceans. They begin by identifying their prior knowledge by creating a mind-map around the term ‘plastic waste’. They then conduct a SEE THINK WONDER activity before finding out how plastic waste harms marine life.


Students explore the issue of single-use plastics and their impact on our environment. They begin by defining the term and exploring examples of single-use plastics before looking at how and why single-use plastics often end up as litter.


Students develop a social action project to address a waste problem they have noticed at their school. Students begin by identifying waste problems at their school, why these have occurred and what actions they could take to address these problems.

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Year 4, Year 5, Year 6

Visit the War On Waste website. Watch War On Waste using the links below:

View the full unit here.

Tuning into Numbers around Plastic Waste

The Trouble with E-Waste

The Impacts of Single Use Plastics

Plastic Straws and our Environment

Geography, Maths

Students explore some of the numbers around waste, particularly plastic waste, in Australia and how this information is communicated. 

Geography, Economics, Design & Tech.

Students explore the topic of e-waste. They begin by thinking about our current household recycling schemes and how e-waste might fit into this system. 

Geography, Science

Students explore single-use plastics. They begin by defining the term ‘single-use plastics’ and suggesting examples of single-use plastics.

Geography, Science

Students explore the impact of plastic straws on marine animals. They begin by sharing what they already know about single-use plastics, straws and our environment. 


Plastic Waste in the News

Start a Waste Warrior Team



Students explore plastic waste articles in the news. Students begin by discussing what they already know about single-use plastics before reading and analysing two news articles about plastic waste, looking at the content of the articles, as well as language features, visual features and text structures of the articles.


Students form a Waste Warrior Team for their school and/or community. This resource has been designed to support you in starting a student action team around waste to tackle waste issues at your school and in your community.


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Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10

Visit the War On Waste website. Watch War On Waste using the links below:

View the full unit here.

Understanding Plastic Waste

Exploring Microplastics

The News about Plastic Waste

The Art of E-Waste


In this lesson, students explore the issue of plastic waste and its impact on our environment. They begin by participating in a silent gallery activity, viewing and responding to a range of images relating to plastic waste. 


Students explore the issue of microplastics. They begin by looking at what microplastics are and where they come from by watching clips from War On Waste and reading news articles.


Students explore a current news story about waste and participate in a debate around the content of this news story. Students begin by refreshing their knowledge of the topic of plastic waste. 

Visual Arts

Students explore the topic of e-waste. They begin by looking at the social and environmental impacts of e-waste, before examining two artists who work with e-waste.


A Circular Economy for Waste

Make a War On Waste Episode


Economics and Business

Students explore the concept of a circular economy as a way of addressing the waste crisis. They begin by reviewing their understanding of waste and think about who is responsible for dealing with waste: governments, producers or consumers?

Media Arts

Students consolidate their learning and reflections on the War On Waste unit to create a mini War On Waste episode. They begin by analysing the War On Waste Impact Report and using the findings of this report to develop ideas for their own War On Waste episode.


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