Production and Waste: Plastic Pollution

This Month in the Economy Exercises: A General Explanation

These teaching packs are designed for 30-minute (online or offline) sessions that can be included within any lecture or tutorial class. They are designed to be suitable for undergraduate university students, but could easily be adapted for higher or lower levels. Every month, we will publish at least one exercise that you can use to engage your students with current events. The main aim of these exercises is to give students practise in relating economic ideas to the real world and their own lived experiences.

Newspaper-style articles or videos are used as the entry point to an economic topic, which the instructor expands upon before the students are broken into small groups to engage in an activity. All the materials you need are provided for you. These teaching packs are published as creative commons (CC BY) and can be freely used and adapted.

This teaching pack

In most economics classes we focus on the production and consumption of goods and services, but what happens to the product and its packaging after it’s consumed? Waste disposal is a crucial step in the production process and as the theme of this month’s World Environment Day is #BeatPlasticPollution, we use the example of plastic bottles.

This teaching pack introduces students to the full production process, including both extraction and waste disposal. They are then placed in the position of managers in a soft drinks company to help them understand these new concepts, and to practice applying them to a scenario. The timings in this guide are for a 30-minute exercise, but if you wanted to you could spend longer on these activities and give students more time to discuss amongst themselves.

Instructor’s Guide

Plastic Pollution

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PowerPoint Slides