Part 11 The Natural Environment

(The World Around Us)

Explain how you can recycle household waste. Hints for reducing wastes
  • Use a reusable string or canvas bag instead of disposable plastic bags for shopping.
  • Better still, take a shopping trolley or buggy with you and do without bags altogether.
  • Choose products with less wrapping and packaging.
  • Buy in bulk many items can be bought more cheaply in large amounts.
  • Buy appliances with high energy efficiency ratings.
  • Put a "No Advertising Material" sticker on your letterbox.
  • Start a worm farm or other form of composting in your garden to recycle all your garden and other suitable food items

Hints for reusing products
  • Storage containers, vases and pot plants can be made from tins, yoghurt containers and jars.
  • Use both sides of paper before putting it in a recycle bin.
  • Use plastic shopping bags as bin liners.
  • All local councils provide recycling services for households. Check with your local council for any particular recycling requirements.
Disposal of old chemicals You can call your local council and ask about regular household chemical collection days.
You can dispose of a range of household waste items:
  • kitchen aerosol cans (empty), insect sprays, floor care products, furniture polish, metal polish with solvent, oven cleaners
  • bathroom pharmaceuticals, bathroom cleaners
  • workshop paint strippers, cutting oil, solvent-based glues, oil-based paint, paint thinner, acetone, turpentine, varnish and wood preservative
  • garden fertiliser, fungicide, herbicides and weed killers, insecticides and rat poison
  • garage transmission fluid, batteries and battery acid, brake fluid, car wax with solvent, petrol, diesel, kerosene and other fuels, motor oils and sump oil, other oils, metal polish with solvent
  • miscellaneous acids and alkalis, artists' paints, mediums, dry cleaning solvents, fibreglass resins (not mixed), mercury batteries, mothballs, old fire alarms and extinguishers, photographic chemicals, swimming pool chemicals, safety ammunition and gas cylinders.
  • Make a system for recycling organic waste from your house (eg worm farm, compost heap).

  • Depending on the setup you have at your scout hall, you may find that you can get your cubs to work together to create a compost heap or a worm farm etc at the hall. Otherwise you may have to assist the cubs to plan how to do it at home in other words, point them in the right direction, usually the internet or your local council.
    Many local councils provide a great free service whereby one of their environmental officers will go out to the local schools and talk about these topics - you may be able to arrange for one of them to come to a cub night - or maybe a combined-pack night.


    Help to clean up litter in your local area Participation in the local Clean-Up Australia Day is a good way of doing this! The whole scouting group can participate, and then the photos etc can go into the local paper, giving good publicity for your group too!


    Discuss some effects of pollution on our rivers, lakes and seas Stormwater pollution can kill plants and animals that live in the water. For example:
    • sediment in the water reduces light penetration and affects photosynthesis, the process that allows plants to use light as their source of energy
    • when green waste decays in water it uses up oxygen, taking vital oxygen away from plants, fish and other aquatic animals
    • soil makes waterways cloudy and can suffocate fish by clogging their gills
    • litter clogs waterways and causes toxicity as it breaks down. It affects the health of birds, fish and other animals and plants that live in the waterways.

    Soil erosion on building sites can be a major source of sediment pollution in our waterways. In fact, a single building block can lose four truckloads of soil in one storm. Washed from the sites into stormwater drains this sediment is eventually deposited in creeks, rivers and lakes in the area
    Many rivers and waterholes have suffered blooms of large green algae (called simply `weed') in previous years. The weed accumulates in the shallows and along the shoreline, where it rots with an unpleasant odour. Spring growths of the toxic blue-green algae turn the water green. Fish catches decline during the bloom, and oxygen levels in the water drop, often causing mass death of bottom-living animals.


    Show how you and your family can help to reduce water pollution Suds and run-off from car washing, rubbish dropped on the streets, plastic bags etc all contribute to water pollution, so reducing these as much as you can is one way of helping to reduce water pollution.


    Habitat Destruction
    On a bushwalk, find examples of five things that have damaged the environment, eg) litter and pollution, salinity, erosion and man-made damage. ON A BUSHWALK!! there you go, what more reason do you need to plan a hike? With the pollution etc around these days, on just about any bushwalk you will find the required damage.



    © 2008 Ian Moggs - rights are given for copying and printing for personal use or use in cub-scout or similar groups.