History of Waste

Are you interested in how waste and waste management has changed over the years?

This information sheet illustrates a brief history of waste and can be used for background knowledge for teachers or older students.


Activity ideas

Think about your history curriculum. Encourage students to think about what would have been the main items of waste in different periods of history and how it would have been disposed of. Think about why waste became a problem.

Print out the “waste timeline” activity sheet. Cut it into sections and ask your group to put it into a timeline order.

Check your answers against the “history of waste information sheet”.

Learning Outcomes

Individuals will be able to explain that people have always made waste but that it has become a problem due to:

  • the sheer amount of waste due to population growth
  • the complexity of the composition of waste for example Plastics
  • the clean air act preventing home burning
  • the pressures on land to deal with waste
  • that the earth’s natural resources are finite


See also

We all make waste, it is important that we know which bin items should be put in and what alternatives there are for certain waste items. Are you ready to go into more detail about the correct wast....
These resources were developed in partnership with Bolton College ESOL department especially for students of English for Speakers of Other Languages.....

Recycle for Greater Manchester