Lesson Objective

In this lesson students will learn about the environmental benefits of recycling mobile phones and printer cartridges. Playing the Recycle Rescue game they will see how fast they can rescue the old mobiles and printer cartridges from going to waste by recycling them in the correct collection bin. Students will research key questions about recycling and the impact electronic waste has on the environment. Learning goals:

  • Students understand the role and impact of resource use;
  • Students begin to take responsibility for unwanted resources;
  • Students research the concept of product stewardship.

General Capabilities: Literacy, Critical and creative thinkingPersonal and social capabilities.

Australian Curriculum Content Description

Year 7 Science Year 8 Science
  • Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116)
  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE120)
  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)


Lesson Outline

  1. Begin the lesson with a class discussion about whether students own a mobile phone and / or a home printer.  The discussion could address some of the following issues: 
    • How many mobile phones and printers do they have when they include all members of their family?  Add up how many mobiles and printers are owned by all students in the class and their families and write the figures on the board!
    • Ask students if they know about recycling electronic waste?
    • Has anyone ever recycled a printer cartridge or an old mobile phone? Where and how did they recycle them?
    • What do students think the term 'recycling' actually means?  (Recycling is the process of collecting useful materials from waste and producing new products from them.)
    • What other kind of products do they recycle at home and school?
  2. Download Recycle Rescue as an app in the Google Play or Apple Store. Alternatively play the game via the MobileMuster or PlanetArk website. As students play the game, ask them to consider: 
    • Look out for the environmental benefits of recycling. What are they? 
    • When your score appears how many mobiles and cartridges did you recycle? What was your score?
    • What materials were reused and what new produced were made from your recycling effort?

3.  After students have played the game, discuss the following: 

    • Compare scores - who managed to recycle the most mobiles or printer cartridges?
    • Who had the highest total score (were consistently able to recycle the mobiles and cartridges whilst minimising the number falling through)?
    • What did you learn about the environmental benefits of recycling?
    • What materials can be reused from recycling mobile phones?
    • What new products can be made from recycling cartridges?

4.    Ask students to complete the accompanying Student Worksheet: How do I rescue my old mobile phoneThe worksheet develops critical thinking skills and looks at how personal values and scientific knowledge affect the decision making process.

5.   After students complete their worksheet, engage them in a class discussion that addresses the following issues:

    • What natural resources go into making a mobile phones and printer cartridges.  
    • Are these resources renewable or non-renewable? 
    • What happens to mobile phones and cartridges during the recycling process? 


Extension Activities

By recycling  mobiles and printer cartridges, not only do we make our waste pile smaller, we also reduce the consumption of natural resources.  Ask students to research the following issues: 

  • How important an issue do you think electronic waste (e-waste) is in Australia?
  • What are some of the environmental challenges surrounding the consumption of electronic goods?
  • Is the consumption sustainable?
  • How can we minimise the impact of our consumption?