School children in Liverpool have been learning all about recycling, thanks to an innovative initiative from Novelis, the world’s leading aluminium can recycler.
Novelis has developed Think Cans, a range of resources designed for use in schools to enable teachers to integrate recycling within the main subject areas of the curriculum, and in so doing to encourage children to participate in their local recycling service. Aimed at children up to age 11, Thinkcans.com is a website full of games, activities and support materials and includes a 15-minute interactive film and quiz, The Aluminium Can Recycling Loop (The Loop), which follows the life cycle of an aluminium drink can. The Loop is available to download or can be ordered via the website www.thinkcans.com in CD ROM format. Unlike most educational software The Loop is freely available to schools.
Novelis Recycling consulted widely with teachers, local authority recycling teams and waste education professionals whilst developing Think Cans, to ensure the resources were able to make a valuable contribution to mainstream teaching. Says Diana Caldwell of Novelis, “Think Cans has been developed with the aim of supporting teachers to encourage children to gain a greater understanding of the importance of recycling. Running a pilot scheme was something we really needed to do to ensure Think Cans was exactly what teachers needed to teach their classes about recycling.”
The Liverpool pilot project has enabled this to move a stage further, by encouraging feedback from teachers as to how the resources could be extended and developed further.
Feedback from teachers and pupils alike has been hugely positive. Think Cans is not only encouraging children to think more about recycling, it’s also enabling teachers to fit waste education into their mainstream subjects. All the schools involved filled in questionnaires and used Think Cans in their lessons, giving Novelisthe opportunity to adapt and develop the resources according to the learning needs of the children they’re aimed at.
In the longer term Novelis Recycling plans to develop Think Cans so that it offers a wide range of template activities that can be used by schools, local authorities and waste education professionals to adapt to local projects and campaigns. Diana continues, “We are only at the beginning of a very exciting project. The next logical step is to monitor programmes using Think Cans to evaluate their impact on attitudes to recycling and link this to participation in recycling programmes”.