Collecting > Trashbin Challenge

Instead of throwing plastics away or putting them in the recycling bin, retain all of the plastics that you use for a period of time so that they can be counted.

The items can be collected from anywhere that will generate an appropriate outcome, for example:

  • Classroom bin
  • Canteen bin
  • Playground bin
  • Staff room bin
  • Bin at home

It is good to choose a typical bin so that participants do not feel too removed from the waste collected - eg Using the classroom bin means that the waste was created by the participants.

To avoid participants rummaging through dirty bins to reclaim plastic items, it is a good idea to set up a seperate clean bin for the plastic waste. Waste should be washed if it is dirty.

Participants can then help to collect the plastic waste and also engage with others who may have plastic waste items.

The timescale can be anywhere from a day to a month and can be adjusted to suit how much plastic waste your collection point generates.

The goal is to collect a reasonable amount of plastic in a relatively short period of time, with additional collection over longer periods helping to reinforce the collection



  • Plastic waste is collected seperate to other recyclable waste.
  • Waste is not segregated or separated by plastic type but collected all-together.
  • Washing of dirty / food wastes before storing is encouraged
  • Measure volume of plastic waste collected




  • Activity carried out in parallel by multiple groups, results can then be compared
  • Collection can be augmented with other collection activities such at a litter walk.
  • Measure / count how much waste is collected in one day / week / month
  • Chart progress
  • Take time-lapse / periodic photos to show how plastic waste increases over time
  • Calculate how much waste would be created by a larger subject group
  • Calculate how much room this waste would take up or how far it would stretch
  • Encourage participants to increase yield by collecting litter / promoting the project
  • Get participants to write about the challenge
  • Periodically Re-hold the challenge to compare results.
  • Spread the news - How can we promote more / better recycling behaviours



  • Collection of plastic waste (needed for the next stage of the project)
  • Demonstrate / identify / calculate volume of plastic waste created per group or area
  • Raise awareness and engage others
  • Engage participants in plastics lifecycle