Product Packaging Conundrum - a problem based learning activity

America produces too much waste. The problem is not just an American one. Many nations are recognizing and seeking solutions to the problem of too much trash. "Packaging is the single largest product in the waste stream. Packaging makes up 32 percent of the municipal solid waste stream by weight, or 27 percent by volume."*

The costs of disposing of the waste materials is rising significantly. Very few communities want to have disposal facilities in their environs. The rising cost of fuels makes hauling garbage a pricey affair. This is all compounded by the environmental issue of materials like petroleum-based plastic that do not breakdown.

Your club has developed a new product. It is a hard plastic model of your school's mascot. It is about 4" x 2" x 3". You anticipate it will be a great local fund raiser that you can sell for years. Several team members want to make a website to facilitate marketing your item to alumni and school supporters. You are deciding on the packaging of the product.

What material(s) will you use to package your item?


How will you package it?



* Energy Information Administration Source Reduction -

Corn Plastic to the Rescue -

Excessive packaging environmental woes -

Excessive packaging Issue paper 07 -

Council gets tough on excessive packaging -

Packaging Choices that Reduce Waste | In Northern California Less Waste Means More Profit

National Library for the Environment - Congressional Research reports

Images as Messages - pbl | Only action produces change

eFundraiser project - pbl | Diminishing Consumer Waste Video - pbl

Green Maps Around the World

Rubric template - teacher resource / Problem Based Learning Projects

Internet Hunts / Nature / Computers / Pennsylvania Projects / Puzzles & Projects / Site map / Home

developed by Cynthia J. O'Hora Released to public domain and Posted 7/2006

Aligned with Pennsylvania Academic Standards - Explain how human activities may affect local, regional, and global environments.