Disposable vs Durable

Modern conveniences of disposables have led to a shift in consumer habits. While disposable provide some benefits, they also pose serious consequences, particularly when it comes to their disposal.

Key concept

Durable products can be reused over and over.  Disposable items are used one and then become rubbish.

Learning Objectives

Students will learn about disposable and durable products.


  • Old magazines
  • Samples of disposable products (pens, tissues, paper towels, microwave popcorn, shopping bags, paper plates)
  • Samples of durable products (refillable pens, handkerchief, washable cloth, popcorn, reusable bag, plate)

Learning Steps

  1. Show advertisements from magazines, television etc encouraging the use of disposable items (eg tissues, nappies, razors etc)
  2. Bring in examples of disposable products (eg tissues, microwave popcorn, wrapping paper, pen, shopping bag) as well as their durable counterparts
  3. Discussion Questions
    • What do you do when your pen runs out of ink?  What did people write with before the invention of disposable ballpoint pens?
    • What are some examples of disposable products that you have used? (nappies, pens, cameras, shopping bags, wrapping paper, takeaway food containers, paper plates, plastic cups, paper towels).
    • Why do you think people use these disposable products rather than more durable or long-lasting alternatives?

Help students to understand that people ofent use disposable times because it is easier, more convenient and sometime cheaper to replace these items then to clean, refill or repair durable products.  Unfortunately, these disposable items create a signficant amount of waste.

Extra Activity

Create a two part poster display - one half is for disposable products and the other half for durable substitutes. (Bring products from home for this activity).