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GCSE: A Disposable Future? A study of a wasteful world

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Louise Ellis, James McDaid and Andrew Oraeki

ISBN: 9781843772651

Published: 2011

Price: £24.99

Member price: £19.99


A study of a wasteful world is, literally, ‘Living Geography’. GCSE students have grown up with cheap clothing, fast fashion and televisions, mobile phones and computers that need replacing every few years, but many are not aware that our ‘throw-away society’ generates mountains of waste. Waste management and disposal is a political issue, involving local councils, national governments and international agreements in order to mitigate its effects on the environment, economies and every living thing on the planet.

Indeed, as many students grapple with the complexity of inter-relationships between the impacts of the consumption and disposal of products, i.e. waste at different scales, these lessons start with their own experiences of household waste, and look at how waste is managed in other countries. Each subsequent lesson then focuses on a different type of waste. 

Whether they are looking at the illegal trade in e-waste, how textiles are recycled, the enduring nature of plastic and its impact on marine life or the changing use of buildings, students constantly encounter the links between their own and other people’s lives and are thus encouraged to consider the issue at different geographical scales. As we all generate waste, we all have some control over the way we deal with it now and in the future. From colour-coded bins for different types of domestic waste to the global environmental implications of industrial waste, this unit challenges students’ thinking on the future of waste management — which will need more than just wheelie bins and bottle banks.