Lesson Plan: Fundamentals of Waste

Guide students to understand why waste management is a critical issue for a sustainable future.

Author: Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally has partnered with EcoRise to bring you comprehensive, hands-on lessons focused on waste and recycling for grades K-12. This lesson features an engaging presentation to help students understand why waste management is so important. Access the free lesson plan by clicking on the link below!




Lesson 6.1: 101 Fundamentals: Waste


The purpose of this lesson written for grades 9-10 is to help students understand why waste management is a critical issue for a sustainable future. Students learn fundamental principles of waste management, including how human habits and products are not always in harmony with earth’s natural processes. They then learn about the typical ways waste is processed, such as via landfills, incineration, and recycling. Students see that nations with more pronounced consumer behaviors are the nations that produce the most waste. They then explore how social attitudes can impact what we buy, what happens to those products when they become waste, and what our options are for moving to a more sustainable, zero-waste practice.


Estimated time needed: 55 minutes


All lessons are mapped to CCSS, NGSS, EFS, and TEKS standards.




Students will be able to…

  • Define waste and explain why waste management is unique to the human population.
  • Describe several ways people and municipalities manage wastes.
  • Explain how the 5 Rs can help them and their community get closer to zero waste.
  • Explain some of the barriers to waste management, including e-waste and NIMBY.


How to Access the Free Lesson Plan


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  • Select “I am a new user,” then enter your email address in the Username field.
  • Enter your full name and then check the “I agree” box.
  • Click on “Enroll in Course.”
  • Check your email for a link to set your password.

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