Are Enzymes the Future of Plastic Recycling?

Are Enzymes the Future of Plastic Recycling?

Lesson 6 of 6 in this unit

  • Primary
  • Year 4
  • Science
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental
  • Recycling
  • Sustainability
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students will explore the properties of plastic and its impact on the environment through its lifecycle, uncovering enzymes and how they can be used to recycle plastics in a sustainable way.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • explore the properties of plastic and its impact on the environment as well as investigate enzymes and discover how they can be used to break down plastics sustainably in the recycling process

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • recall how plastic is made and summarise its impacts on the environment throughout its lifecycle
  • describe what an enzyme does and how these compounds can be used to break plastic down sustainably
  • evaluate the environmental impact of different plastic recycling methods

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Pineapple Enzyme Science Experiment

Lesson details


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • creative thinking
  • critical thinking
  • collaboration
  • curiosity
  • problem-solving

Curriculum Mapping

Australian Curriculum (v9.0) content description: Year 4 Chemical Sciences

  • examine the properties of natural and made materials, including fibres, metals, glass and plastics and consider how these properties influence their use. AC9S4U04

Relevant parts of Year 4 achievement standards: Students can relate the uses of materials to their properties

NSW Syllabus outcomes: ST2-7MW-T

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability 

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • Target 12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

Resources Required

  • Device capable of displaying audio-visual material
  • Dry plain biscuits like Saladas or water crackers
  • Examples of plastic items for students to observe (Images in lesson if items not available)
  • Student devices for group research
  • Optional - Lego
  • Optional - materials for pineapple enzyme experiment

Additional Info

These lessons were created in partnership with Planet Ark and Sam for Change.

SAM FOR CHANGE was created to build a greater knowledge of plastic management and the possibilities for sustainability within the Australian community. The aim is to combine Samsara Eco’s infinite recycling solution and the SAM FOR CHANGE community in order to combat greenwashing and establish their infinite recycling solution as the expected norm.

Planet Ark’s work with Samsara Eco and SAM FOR CHANGE aims to facilitate the education of younger generations about the current plastic recycling system and to develop an understanding of enzymes, such as those utilised by Samsara Eco in their alternative plastic recycling technology.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium

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