Rubbish Reactions

Our inquiry ‘Going Global’ asks us to compare different aspects of life in New Zealand with other countries in the world.

Room 1 looked at photos of different parts of the world showing huge amounts of rubbish gathered in one area. Countries such as India and Mexico really shocked us. So, compared to these countries, we thought New Zealand was really clean and good at recycling. But is that true?

Firstly, we found out that China no longer buys our plastic waste and that plastic was accumulating in large piles in Huntly. It didn’t look like our New Zealand. We are not very good at recycling.

Mrs Graham brought in a bucket of Lake Taupo sand from the area by the float plane. It looked clean enough. But upon closer inspection, we were shocked.


2019 Aratiatia GoingGlobal Sand01

Our reactions:

I was terrified of the amount of rubbish that was in a small bucket. I was so disappointed. New Zealand is becoming a rubbish dump. Tourists would be shocked about the amount of rubbish on our beautiful beaches. I was also very shocked. I think we should stop littering. We are making bad decisions. - Stella


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I’m angry because it is a mess. It makes me sad. Reduce the rubbish! - Riley


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Yesterday I was shocked by the amount of rubbish that Baylee, Jorja, and I got from a small amount of sand. I was very anxious once we saw a big piece of rubbish. We found heaps of tiny things in the sand. I am terrified because in the future it is probably going to be filled with rubbish. The rubbish is a disgrace to the earth. - Asharntay


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I was stunned at the amount of rubbish in just a little bit of sand. I was really sad and angry at how much rubbish we’ve dropped. We have got to stop it. It is killing birds, fish, plants, and native species. So stop now or soon our planet will be 100% polluted. - Max


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Yesterday we looked for rubbish in the sand. We found lipstick, plasters, cigarette butts, and plastic of all shapes and sizes. - Chelsea

We found disgusting rubbish in the Lake Taupo sand. I was shocked when I saw all that rubbish. I saw tape, lollipop sticks, plastic bags, plasters, and plastic lids. - Keanu


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Yesterday when we were scavenging through the sand, I was shocked by how many pieces of rubbish were in the box. Bottle lids, lollipop sticks, tape, yoghurt lids, and more. I was terrified. I felt like we need to think about how much plastic we make. The people that make the food aren’t listening to the news. We should all be ashamed of how much rubbish we make. At the sushi place, they wrap the food in plastic, put it in a plastic box and then put it in one big piece of plastic. - Evie


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Then we asked ourselves: ‘Does New Zealand have a rubbish problem?’ We recorded our reactions on an app called Flipgrid. Here are some of our thoughts.

But what can we do?

We can see that plastic is a large problem because it doesn’t go away. Our class had a look through our lunch boxes to see if we could make better decisions regarding the products we use and how we organise our food. For example, Evie does not bring a small packet of chippies each day. She takes some chippies out of a larger bag and brings this package-free in a compartment of her lunch box. This is an example of reducing plastic. Other students had smaller reusable containers inside their lunch box that they wash and bring each day. This is an example of reusing plastic. These are all ways we can Participate and Contribute, an important Key Competency in our curriculum.


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I have two pieces of plastic in my lunch box. I could take out the wrapping for my Mars. I will try to reduce the amount of plastic in my lunch box. - Max

I have two pieces of plastic. I think that is alright because I don’t want nuts all over my lunch box. - Lauren


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I should use more reusable materials. I had four plastic materials in my lunch box today. My only non-plastic material was cookies. I should have a plastic-free lunch box. - Elliot

I have no pieces of plastic rubbish in my lunch box. I am proud of myself. I like being plastic-free. - Tori

Finally, we had a visit from Shannon, from the Taupo District Council waste management department. She reinforced what we have been learning about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and told us about Refuse. We need to say no to anyone that offers us plastic packaging or products with lots of wrappers. Shannon also showed us the shocking amount of rubbish she collected in one hour around our lake. We compared this to our own rubbish collection.


2019 Aratiatia GoingGlobal Shannon


Shannon asked us to create a timeline of rubbish. We learned that the food chain is badly affected by small pieces of rubbish, which fish can eat by mistake.

We thank Shannon for taking the time to visit us.


2019 Aratiatia GoingGlobal Shannon



Keywords: Going Global, rubbish, biodegradability

Curriculum links:

Social Science L2 - Understand that people have social, cultural, and economic roles, rights, and responsibilities.

Science L2 - Properties and changes of matter - Observe, describe, and compare physical and chemical properties of common materials.

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