Lesson 1: Food scraps survey


To investigate how household food scraps are disposed of and for students to decide upon preferred disposal methods.

Learning Areas

Geography, Science, Mathematics, English


Around 40 percent of what is placed in household waste bins is food. This is then sent to landfill where it breaks down and produces methane, a greenhouse gas.

There are many disposal methods that prevent food waste from ending up in landfill. Many people choose to compost at home, have a worm farm, or feed scraps to their chickens or other pets. There are pros and cons with each of these disposal methods; some can only take certain types of food waste, some methods cost more money, require more transport etc.

Lesson steps

  1. As a class, students to brainstorm the various kinds of food scraps that they accumulate in an average day. Ask students to think about breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and record their responses on the board. Discuss, what are some of the most common food scraps?
  2. Now ask students to think about how each kind of food scrap is/can be disposed of. Responses could include waste bin, green organics bin, composting, worm farms, chickens etc.
  3. With this information from the class discussion, students (in pairs) to survey their class using the ‘Food scraps survey’ activity sheet.
  4. Students (independently or in pairs) to graph the results from their survey using a graph style of their choice.
  5. As a class, discuss the results. Is there one disposal method which is used more than others? Are there any methods that weren’t used at all? Discuss if these methods are better or worse than others (i.e. waste bin v home composting). Are there any benefits or drawbacks for these methods?
  6. As an extension, you could ask students to write a piece for the school newsletter or community newspaper, explaining the different methods and highlighting some of the preferred disposal methods.