Challenge yourself to reduce your waste and consumption

Our first fantastic blog for National Non-Fiction November 2020 features a trio of books published by Hachette. See below for information about how you can win copies of the books.

Protect the planet we share and learn how to reduce your consumption and waste with the advice and tips in A Planet Full of Plastic, Zero Waste Kids and 17 Ways to Save the World. Read on to find out more about the books and to discover some fun activities which can also help save the environment…

In A Planet Full of Plastic, we learn that there is plastic all around us, everywhere. Even in places where it’s not meant to be. The amount of plastic we are using all over the world is so much that it’s becoming a problem. If it drops to the ground, it doesn’t rot away – it sticks around for ever. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade – this means that it can’t be broken down and removed naturally and in a way that is not harmful. While it sits around not biodegrading, and building up in places it shouldn’t be, it poses a risk to animals (and humans too!). But the good thing is that we can all help to make a difference, by reducing, reusing and recycling.

Activity: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle tips poster

  1. Draw 3 columns with the headings: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Think about the things you use every day, in your home, at school, and when you are out. What could go in each column?


  • Could you bring your sandwich in a reusable box, instead of wrapping in cling film?
  • In your classroom, could you reuse paper on both sides? (And then recycle it!)
  • Could you refill and reuse your plastic soap dispenser? Or reduce this use of plastic by trying a bar soap?

Once you’ve completed your table of ideas, create a poster to highlight these suggestions for other people. Make sure it’s bright and colourful to get everyone’s attention. Display the posters in your school to help others understand the plastic problem and remind them how they can help save our planet.

In 17 Ways to Save the World, you can find out about the Sustainable Development Goals. These Goals, adopted by the United Nations in 2015, are a call to take action to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, encouraging everyone to work together for a more sustainable future. The extract below is from Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

It takes a lot of natural resources to make all the stuff that we use: soil and water to grow plants for food and fabric, trees to make wood and paper, oil to make plastic, minerals to make everything from steel to the electronics in mobile phones, and so on. Some resources are being used up so quickly that they are in danger of running out.

The UN is encouraging people to find ways to use natural resources carefully, for example by buying less and reducing waste so there are enough resources for everyone to share in the future. Reusing stuff is one way we can all do more and do better with less!

You can reuse things by making something new. When you turn it into a useful item it’s called upcycling.

Activity: Upcycle Craft

For this activity, work in small groups or individually on an upcycle craft project.

Look at the list from the ‘Reuse’ column in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle activity.

Or, if you have a recycling box, ask an adult to help you look through it for any boxes or packaging.

Come up with an idea for ways to creatively reuse and reinvent the items you choose.

Cardboard boxes and shoeboxes

Make great structures for castles, a dolls house, a space station, puppet theatres, tiny villages

Used paper

Can be coloured and painted with new patterns and made into decorations, bunting, paper chains, mosaic collages

Plastic containers

Secure different sized containers together to make draw-dividers, pen pots, or new storage

Fabric pieces

With help from an adult, fabric can be sewn into a cushion cover, quilt, or weaved into a placemat

Did you know that the average house in the UK uses 450 litres of water per day? That’s like using up 900 glasses of water!

Zero Waste Kids contains 30 achievable challenges to reduce waste, including craft activities and lifestyle changes to help children reduce, reuse and recycle their way to help save planet Earth. The following extract is taken from a section about reducing water and energy consumption. Doing this helps to protect our planet’s resources for the future.

Activity: Challenge Chart

Make a tally chart with your friends, your family at home or in your class, and mark on it how many of the challenges below you can complete in a week. Put a mark on to the chart each time you tick off a challenge. At the end of the week, try to estimate how much water you’ve saved together. You could make this into a competition and see who manages to save the most!

Reduce water consumption with these ideas from Zero Waste Kids Challenge 6: Save Water:

  • Take a shorter shower: time yourself with a stopwatch and try to beat your time every day!
  • When you have a bath, only fill it halfway
  • Fill up the sink to wash dishes instead of using running water
  • Place a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water while your shower heats up. Use what’s in the bucket to water your plants.
  • Put out a few buckets when it rains and save the water for the garden or house plants.

Reduce energy consumption with these ideas from Zero Waste Kids Challenge 8: Energy Saving:

  • Remember to turn the lights off when you leave the room
  • When you want a snack, don’t hold your fridge door open. Try to open it, grab what you want and shut it quickly.
  • Remind adults to unplug their devices! If a charger is left plugged in when it’s not charging anything, it is still drawing electricity from the power grid.
  • In your free time, do something that’s an electricity-free hobby. Pick up a book, draw, paint, play outside, explore!

Hachette Schools is the place to find books and fantastic free resources that are perfect for schools and libraries. Discover downloadable activities and lesson ideas for the books featured in this blog using the links below:

Find out more about A Planet Full of Plastic here:

…and Neil Layton’s follow-up book, A Climate Full of Chaos, here:

Find out more about 17 Ways to save the World here:

Find out more about Zero Waste Kids here:

WIN! A set of the books featured in this blog: A Planet Full of Plastic, 17 Ways to Save the World, and Zero Waste Kids. Follow @HachetteSchools on Twitter to find out how to enter the giveaway competition!

Any opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG.

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