Plastic Unwrapped is a series of four exciting workshops designed to explain everything you need to know about plastic. Organised by Discovery Planet, and delivered by experts within their field, the workshops are aimed at anyone who is interested in learning more about this incredibly important topic.

The first two workshops have now been completed and they were as interesting as they were engaging. I attended the Friday workshops which are pre-booked sessions involving local schools but the organisers have also been running Saturday workshops which are open to anyone.

Session 1 – What’s The Problem?

This session took a close look at the results from the 2017 Great British Beach Clean, exploring the type of rubbish that was found and how much was collected. The source of beach litter was discussed and why it is so bad for the environment.

The sessions were based at the Nayland Rock Shelter on Margate Seafront and included some very informative introductions to the plastic problem by experts from University of Kent and Thanet Coast Project.

Litter collected from just two of the first sessions

Attendees were then given the opportunity to investigate, first hand, the plastic problem as they split into small groups and took to the beach to see what they could find.

The results were alarming…

During the course of just two days, over 2,000 plastic items were removed from this small section of our coastline. This included 154 shopping bags and 388 bottle tops. In addition to the plastic, over 500 cigarette stubs, lots of glass, a plastic guitar and even a discarded bikini were found and removed from the beach.

All of the data gathered was added to the Marine Conservation Society’s ongoing National Survey.

Session 1 Gallery

 

Session 2 – What is Plastic?

The second workshop saw the groups relocate to The Hall By The Sea at Dreamland for a more technical, scientific explanation of the plastic problem we are facing.

Haddon Dene pupils making plastics

This session looked at what a plastic is on an atomic scale and the different everyday uses of plastic, including some unexpected ones.

I joined a group of young students from Haddon Dene School as they investigated monomers, polymers and copolymers and how they determine the properties of plastics.

The workshop was very hands-on and engaging and the budding young scientists even had the opportunity to make some of the very first plastics ever used with some surprisingly ordinary ingredients.

Session 2 Gallery

 

I have enjoyed both of the sessions I have attended and am really looking forward to finding out more in the remaining two workshops… 

Session 3 – Recycling

This session focused upon working scientifically to do the job of a recycling plant. Attendees investigated the different properties of a range of plastics and developed a set of tests to identify unknown materials. The workshop also looked at the life-cycle of a plastic bottle and consider ways to reduce or reuse plastic as well as recycling it.

Session 3 Gallery

Session 4 – Plastic Progress

This session enabled attendees to re-imagine plastic and look at the cutting-edge research being undertaken at the University of Kent to develop replacement material for some traditional plastics and other incredible innovations. Attendees also found out the importance of Chemistry is and the role it has to play in the future of plastics. There was lots of chances to take part in experiments and ask questions of the experts delivering the workshops.

Session 4 Gallery

At Educational Life, we really understand the importance of these workshops and will definitely be looking into ways that we can do our bit to ensure we limit our Plastic  impact upon the planet. We have recently teamed up with Thanet District Council and will be helping spread the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ message throughout our local schools and community.

For more information on Discovery Planet and their remaining Plastic Unwrapped Workshops, please check out the following  links…

http://www.discoveryplanet.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/DiscoveryPlanetRamsgate/

https://www.facebook.com/events/348905825846986/