WasteLess is a non-profit research organisation that develops innovative educational programmes, materials and games about sustainable consumption and waste management targeting children aged 6 to 15.
Why Waste Less?
Waste is a serious and growing global problem. The way we use and discard it is quickly destroying the earth and damaging our health faster than most people realise. Our planet can’t handle it, and neither can we.
Presently, when we think of waste we follow a linear model. A product is created, we purchase it and, when we’ve used it, we throw away whatever’s left. However, this approach generates an amazing amount of ‘unseen’ waste long before consumers touch it. Conservative experts claim that each kilo of garbage we dispose of in our bins produces 40 kilos of waste upstream (extraction, production and distribution).
After waste is generated, it is typically transported from our lives without much thought. For us, it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’. For our public systems, it’s a nuisance to be dealt with cheaply and quickly. For future generations, it’s one of the biggest mistakes we are making.
We urgently need to raise awareness, change behaviour and inspire an estimated 7 billion+ people to generate less waste.
It’s time to change. It’s time to become conscious of the impact of the products we choose, use and throw away every day. It’s time to waste less.
How We Work
Imagine for a moment that you come home to discover a running tap that has soaked the floor. What would you do first; start mopping up the water or turn off the tap?
Most of us would turn off the tap.
So far, the issue of waste has generally been addressed through the mopping approach (collection and disposal of waste). Our team, on the other hand, believes in ‘closing the tap’. This is what makes WasteLess different.
How Do We Close the Tap?
At WasteLess, we believe that through education, we can initiate great changes in the way we make, dispose of, and think about waste. This way we can pass on a flourishing, clean planet to future generations. Through experiential learning and interactive activities, our educational programmes inspire children to become conscious of the issues surrounding waste, both local and global. We use an innovative participatory action-based research methodology. The approach involves continuous research, development, testing and the evaluation and reflection of the impact of our programmes. We ensure that students and teachers actively participate in the development of our educational materials by asking for their feedback through questionnaires, focus group discussions, interviews and other participatory tools. In this way, we hope to inspire children to become critical of their role in the waste crisis and work together to bring about powerful systemic change.
Innovative Education for Sustainable Waste Management
Our Garbology journey started with Garbology 101, an educational tool kit that includes a 101 multi-intelligence activities aimed to educate children about waste, consumerism and the environment. It has now expanded to include an updated, free and online curriculum called Garbology Lite. The programme is designed to help children develop knowledge regarding sustainable consumption and responsible waste management while promoting their communication, reading, critical thinking and creative skills. It consists of extensively researched, fun and interactive activities for the classroom, taken from Garbology 101, which can be downloaded in English or Tamil from the WasteLess website. They are perfect both as standalone activities or complementary to other subjects such as Science, English and Mathematics. For more information on Garbology 101 please refer to this TEDx talk.
We are consuming plastic at an ever-increasing rate without knowing about its harmful effects on our environment and ourselves. Today, plastic and its negative consequences can be seen everywhere. For example, recent studies estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. As part of the global movement to beat plastic pollution we have launched the kNOw PLASTICS Educational Programme . It is an 8-lesson programme that uses a memory style card game through which children can learn about the different types of plastics and their impact on our health, animals and the environment. It is available for free on our website.
‘Pick it Up’
Since separation at source remains one of the major challenges for waste management today, we have developed a novel card game called Pick it Up. It aims to spread awareness on waste separation in a fun and interactive way. Pick it Up teaches you how to separate and recycle your waste through the informal recycling sector while highlighting common waste items which have a high monetary value. Pick it Up targets children and is available in two versions (Tamil/English and Hindi/English). We are also currently developing an educational programme using the game as a tool. Through a series of lessons and take-home activities it empowers and motivates children to collect, separate and recycle waste anywhere in India and spread awareness to their families and friends.
In collaboration with seven partners from countries including South Africa, Brazil and Germany, WasteLess as well as Upcycling Studio was part of the International Start Upcycling project. The aim of the project was to use the art of upcycling as a tool to create awareness, increase capacity building and empower youth to become future entrepreneurs. The outcome of the project was an international online platform and exciting educational materials such as an eCourse and eBook. Click here to access the materials for free.
Here at WasteLess, we are always looking for passionate teachers, schools and organisations to partner with us in order to spread our educational programmes to a much wider audience! If you are interested in partnering with us, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.
Visit the WasteLess website: www.wastelessindia.org
Write to email@example.com
Watch: TEDx talk on Garbology 101