Australia's population is set to reach 40 million by 2059 (source). This means significant growth in infrastructure, residential and commercial projects within the building industry, and critical infrastructure to deliver water to drink and to help grow our food.
An important product used in these projects is pipes. However, you wouldn’t think about them or the essential role they play because most of them are hidden under the ground or behind walls, and therefore, you don’t even realise they are there.
Plastic pipes have many uses; they deliver safe drinking water, gas and electricity to our homes and communities, protect the wires and cables that deliver internet services, are used in irrigation systems essential for growing food and carry away sewerage, rainwater and stormwater, protecting our community.
Shifting the building industry to a circular economy model will help to reduce both the amount of raw materials required to meet the needs of the building industry and to address the waste created. One material already suited to a circular economy model is recycled plastic pipes.
In these lessons, students will explore the circular economy through the real-world example of plastic pipes in our buildings. Plastic pipes offer the opportunity to explore topics relating to sustainability, design, materials extraction and recycling, and health and sanitation.