Task 1 Discussion – A PET Bottle Journey


It is advisable to bring in some samples of plastic for the discussion. We recommend that you use a larger box in which different plastics can be stacked. A yellow box is suitable for greater illustration. Wrap it with coloured paper or colour it and place various things made from plastic in the box: a PET bottle, plastic bags, plastic packaging from food, foil. Choose primarily those with visible recycling symbols.

Question 1: How much of such waste do you have at home a week?

Question 2: What do you do with it?

Question 3: What is wrapped in a plastic packaging?

We discuss with pupils how much waste they have at home and where they take it. It often ends up in yellow containers, though not all of it.

Question 4: What happens to plastic waste after it is collected? Where does it go?

Plastic waste is taken into recycling centres. In such a recycling centre, plastic waste is placed on a conveyor belt and is sorted by type. We can demonstrate it by putting the box content on the floor and start sorting it with pupils. We first sort out, for example, PET bottles, plastic packaging and others from each other. During this activity, we will point out that even if everything is made of plastic, it still differs. We show pupils the symbols on the packaging. Although we do not detect the name, recycling symbols differ by number or letters. We separate several PET bottles from the rest.

Question 5: What should we do with the bottle now?

It is best to remove the labels from the plastic bottle. Next, we unscrew the cap, because it is made from a different kind of plastic. We begin to cut the bottle into strips and from the strips we begin to cut the plastic shards. We can pre-prepare them elsewhere. These shards are then washed and sorted to avoid the presence of other parts.

The shards are then transported to another processing plant where regranulate is produced from them. Originally, plastic bottles were made of plastic granulate, which is heated, and injected into moulds called preforms. These preforms are heated again and the plastic bottle is blown out of them.

Question 6: What is then produced out of it?

Other plastic bottles can be produced with the admixture of new plastic. These shards are also melted and fibres are made of them. Fabric can be made from these fibres -artificial fibre. The products bear the designation – 100% polypropylene, 100% polyester. Sleeping bags, pillows’ filling, t-shirts, jackets, carpets and other products are made of these artificial fibres.

Question 7: How many 2L bottles are needed for making a T-shirt, a sleeping bag and 1 m2 of a carpet? (5, 35, 60). (Denik.cz)

Throughout the process, children see that sorting of waste makes sense.

Question 8: What happens to a dirty PET bottle?

The dirty PET bottle and other plastic are cleaned later, as we know. However, the heavily soiled plastic cannot be used and ends as a mixed waste in the incineration plant. It is already dirty when it is thrown into the yellow container.