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PROUD Detective

Plastic waste is a big problem ... can we make it the past?

We all know the problems that plastic waste can cause - single-use plastics (which we use once and throw away) can cause lots of serious environmental damage, which is something that we all want to stop!

 In your schools, and at home, you might have already started to do things that will help with these problems...BUT - there is still a big problem to solve... We need YOU to  become ULTRA DETECTIVES, hunting down the Menace of Plastic Waste, finding out where it is hiding, and seeing what sort of problems it's causing your school, and the environment!


Did you know?

One of the biggest problems that the Menace of Plastic Waste causes is the loss of money - did you know that it often costs much less money to recycle single-use plastics, than to send them to the landfill site? In fact, if we managed to save just £4 per pupil in each school by finding the Menace of Plastic Waste, we could save about £1 million in Northern Ireland, and over £45 million in the UK!
If you want to help to get rid of the Menace of Plastic Waste, you're not alone - your teachers will be able to help you with this, and you'll be able to find lots of information on this website that can help you too!

You might be able to learn some tips and tricks from our very own computerised detective, Robot Holmes - read more about his adventures in our comic book - just click below.

View the comic book here - Download

Now that you know lots more about the problems that the Menace of Plastic Waste is causing, we have a question for you:

Are you ready to make your school P.R.O.U.D ... reduce plastic waste?

If you are, get started by asking your teacher to register their interest by contacting the below email address:

info@reducingplastic.com 


Your Detective Toolbox

Now you're ready to become a super detective, it's going to be important for you to have a few basic tools to help you get started!

​Below, you'll find some tools in the form of activities that will allow you, your fellow detectives and your teachers to get to work and find the Menace of Plastic waste, and put them in their place!


Teacher's Toolkit

For for the teacher toolkit, click here.


Detective's Toolkit

Being a detective is hard work, and it's even harder for an ultra detective! 

​There are some activities that will help you on your mission to find and fight the Menace of Plastic Waste - your teachers will be able to help you with these, but your school will need you to come up with lots of creative ideas to get rid of the Menace!

​When you're ready to get started, click on the below links to find out more about each of the activities!

Activity 1
Activity 2
Activity 3
Activity 4
Activity 5

Our activities are also available in Irish.

Activity 1 - Irish
Activity 2 - Irish
Activity 3 - Irish
Activity 4 - Irish
Activity 5 - Irish 


Real detective tips for completing the investigation

Detective work is hard - putting together all of the information you've collected can be tricky, and so can be coming up with new ideas to stop waste!

​To help, we've asked a real police Crime Scene Investigator to tell us a little bit about how they do their job - maybe this will help you with your detective work!


Question 1: What do you currently do in your job?

"Every day I visit the scenes of crimes. These range from house break-ins to more serious crimes. The way we investigate these crimes is exactly the same. Firstly, I need to record the scene by taking photographs. This is so I can show what it looked like at the time to anyone who can't visit the scene. Then I will look for evidence. This can take the form of objects and fingerprints. I will then spend time swabbing and using a brush and powder to look for fingerprints. There might be other things which I can use as evidence as well, for example things that the suspect might have left behind at the scene. I can take possession of these and examine them for more forensic evidence, or information such as a product label, which might show where the item was bought, and who bought it. Once I have collected all of my evidence and taken all of my pictures, I write a detailed report to describe what I did to find the evidence. This report goes to the Police who will use it as part of their investigation. Then my report goes to the Crown Office who are the lawyers who will prosecute the suspect in Court."


Question 2: Do you have any tips for investigating "environmental crimes"?

"If you are investigating environmental crimes, the way you do things is exactly the same. For example, if you find a large amount of plastic rubbish dumped and you want to find who dumped it, you can start by taking photographs of the area to show exactly how much was dumped and where. Did the suspect need a car to get it there? Was more than one person Involved? You can look at the items to see if there could be any forensic evidence on them. It's unlikely that you would try to get DNA or fingerprints from a large amount of rubbish, as this would just show you who the last person was to use the bottle or bag, rather than who dumped them. However, by looking at the information on the items, you could see if they all came from the same place - were they bought from shops in the same town? Are they branded in the same way? You could also ask anybody living near where the items were dumped to see if they saw any suspicious vehicles or people at the time the items were dumped."


Question 3: So, how could pupils in a school use these skills to help with their own investigations, and reduce plastic waste?


"To apply this way of investigating to your school, you need to find out which parts of your school produces which type of waste. How could you do this? Where does all the school rubbish go at the moment? Next, you could take photographs of the waste that you want to reduce, so that you can look back at the photos and see the impact of your project. You could also use these photos to show people who aren't at your school what it looks like, and they can also form part of your final report. If it is safe to do so, you could look through the waste to see what it is made of. Can you identify material from the canteen or any of the departments or classrooms in your school? Are there similar Items in the canteen which haven't been used yet that you could photograph to compare to your waste? Also, ask yourself why has the item been thrown out? Could things be used again, or could something else be used that can be used again? There are so many questions to ask about processes in your school which will help you to help reduce waste. All of this questioning, as well as examining the waste itself, will form part of your investigation. Don't forget to write your report and include everything you did and every question you asked, even if it didn't help in the end."