Scouts Victoria’s focus on hands-on, non-formal education is a key driver for the organisation to innovate in the STEM and Environmental fields, covering unique angles and experiences that kids haven’t yet explored in the classroom.
To put kids in the driver’s seat of the circular economy, Scouts Victoria were searching for an interactive, experiential way to demonstrate the remanufacturing process of plastics. The core objective needed to focus on helping kids understand how recycling fits into a circular economy, the resources that go into sorting and cleaning plastics, and ultimately, why they should always endeavour to reduce their plastic consumption.
Driven to enable all Scouts to think deeper about their relationship with plastic, Scouts Victoria reached out to Precious Plastic Melbourne for assistance in facilitating a solution that provided children with an educational experience in recycling beyond the classroom.
Scouts Victoria firmly believe that waste education is about more than just tours of facilities - kids require practical, tangible experiences to connect their knowledge of household waste with opportunities for recycling. So for Scouts Vic, the focus on a 'hands-on' experience led us to recommend our compact, manual Zephyr Bros. machines. With the hand-cranking process and a slower granulation speed, the kids are able to see and take part in the entire process from sorting and shredding, to melting and extrusion.
Initial conversations focused on the potential products kids could take away from the activity, with each recycled product made during the activity serving as a physical reminder of what they’ve learnt. We were tasked with producing four custom moulds: a bubble wand, whistle, scarf ring and Scout woggle, with the latter two being key items in the Scout uniform. The kids would craft their own uniform pieces from recycled plastic, creating a conversation starter and a tangible anchor back to their own learning. Post-consumer plastic was readily sourced from local Scout groups and businesses in the form of HDPE and LDPE milk bottle lids.
Upon tooling completion, the machines were delivered to Scouts Victoria, and were immediately put to work, deploying the activity at Kangaree 2022, engaging with more than 1000 kids the power of recycling over the course of a single weekend at Lardner Park, Warragul.
Scouts Victoria plan to bring this activity to all of their members and visitors through its permanent home at the Environment Education Centre at Gilwell Park Scout Camp.
The Precious Plastic Melbourne team produced the following equipment for Scouts Victoria:
• 2 x Benchtop Extruders
• 2 x Benchtop Plastic Shredders
• 6 x Product Moulds (Whistle, Woggle, Scarf Ring, Bubble Wand, Carabiner & Jenga Block)
• 1000+ kids engaged with the activity
• 9.2kg post-consumer plastic recycled
• 29.5kg CO2 emissions savings
(As of January 2023.)
Lessons and success
Upskilling Scouts Vic in the usage of their new recycling machinery was integral to the project outcome. To ensure a successful program activation, PPM provided training to the Scouts Victoria Environmental State Commissioner, who successfully facilitated the Kangaree workshops.
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"Kayla and Piers gave a great demo of their recycling machine at our Joeys' session. The Joeys who were in attendance also got to have a mini turn each, to help melt the plastic, extrude it to make a carabiner. They found it very interesting & a fun activity. Thanks so much!"
Joey Scout Leader, Scouts Victoria