Use this lesson with secondary students at CEFR level B1 to look at the issue of plastic waste.

Two people are collecting rubbish in a forest

The Climate Action in Language Education series

This lesson is part of our series of 'Climate Action in Language Education' teaching materials. There are twelve lesson plans in the series, available for teachers of primary, secondary and adult learners of English. See the full list of lesson plans in this series.

About this lesson plan

This lesson is part of the Climate Action in Language Teaching series of engaging lessons about the climate emergency and biodiversity loss. It explores different topics connected to the crisis. Learners will think about what happens to the things we throw away. They categorise some rubbish into ‘necessary’ and ‘luxury’ products then answer questions about the last item they threw away. They read the ‘autobiography’ of a plastic bottle and write their own story in the same style. Finally, they discuss the extent to which other people’s waste is their responsibility and the responsibility of all, and agree on practical ways to reduce plastic waste in the world at three levels: personal, local and national/ corporate.

The lesson plan and student materials have been designed to be used in either face-to-face or online teaching. If used in face-to-face teaching, a presentation is available for a no printing option. 

Learning outcomes:

  • Use words related to waste and recycling
  • Practise the passive voice in the past
  • Write an autobiography from the point of view of an item of rubbish
  • Develop an action plan to reduce plastic use

Age and level:

13-17 (B1)


90 minutes approximately or two shorter lessons


The materials can be downloaded below in PDF format.

  • Lesson plan for face-to-face teaching
  • Lesson plan for online teaching
  • Presentation
  • Student worksheet

Teachers may also need examples of clean rubbish e.g. empty drinks containers, magazines, food containers, batteries, boxes. (Optional)

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

See our publications, research and insight