Trash Value Challenge Austria

Trash Value Challenge Austria

In Austria IFTE together with its partners organizes the Trash Value Festival, where students from primary and lower secondary level present their upcycling objects in front of an audience.

The aim of theses festivals is for children to create value from something worthless and to deal with the creation and avoidance of waste. In 2019 there was one Trash Value Festival in Vienna and two in Salzburg.

Assignment description.

In Vienna the general topic for this year’s Trash Value Festival was “earth”, whilst in Salzburg it was “avoidance of plastic waste”. Students from primary schools and lower secondary level were asked to create their own upcycling objects on this subject. At the Trash Value Festival, one team from each class was given the chance to present their work in front of the others.

For the production of the object only waste products were allowed, and objects should not be painted or decorated with something other than waste. Students from the primary level were allowed to create no matter what kind of object, but on lower secondary level the object must have had a function.

The objects were then displayed together with an object description on a poster at the festival. On the poster, the following questions were answered:

  • What is the name of your object? (Give it a suitable, memorable name!)
  • What does your object represent?
  • Can your object be used for something and if so, for what?
  • What makes your object valuable?
  • If you sold your object, how much money would it cost?
  • What waste materials is your object made of?
  • What did you learn from collecting the waste materials?

What were the results?

The main impact is to create awareness about how much waste we create each day and that waste is not worthless. For the production of their upcycling objects, the students were asked to collect their waste at home and later bring it to school. A lot of the young participants were surprised with the amount they collected over the short period!

By creating something new and of value out of waste, the students learned that waste doesn’t have to be thrown away immediately and that the value of an object doesn’t correspond with the price tag. A lot of the classes also discussed measures how they can avoid waste in the future and one class even went to the public garbage dump to see what normally happens with things they throw away.

The objects themselves covered very different aspects of the general topics. From roboteers protecting soil by collecting waste, to our earth as our home and a self-composed plastic rap the students really displayed their in-depth exploration of the topics.

A nice example

One class from Salzburg composed their own plastic rap. The main line “Our new tactic is less plastic” already made clear what the song is about. The students asked themselves if it is really necessary that we produce so much plastic waste and presented solutions how to avoid plastic in the future. Inspiring and fun!

A short story

One group of students from a primary school created a primitive cat called “Wuschl”, which was nearly 1,50 meters high and very detailed. During the presentation, the students were asked: “If you sold your object, how much money would it cost?” They immediately replied that they would never sell “Wuschl” because there is just one of its kind and that it is impossible to create another one. Besides that, “Wuschl” became their new class mascot.