High School Students Collaborate With Entrepreneurs To Tackle Ocean Waste

Queensland high school students recently embarked on a beach clean-up excursion which has seen them learn about the value of waste, the product life cycle and entrepreneurship. After removing more than 1000 pieces of rubbish, students have created upcycled products alongside Jump Start industry partners FiveOceans.


During the project, students visited Jacob’s Well Boat Ramp to clean up and collect marine debris. Present on the day were Clean Coast Collective (who provided excellent support for the excursion), alongside Photographer Kiah Lucey. The clean up saw students recovering more than 20 large bags of rubbish, ranging from plastic packaging, shoes, fishing line, glass and cigarette butts. Data on the refuse collected was provided to the Australian Marine Debris Database, contributing to national policy development and source reduction plans.

On return to the school, students learnt about plastics sorting processes as well as identification of valuable materials and how these are processed. 

Natalie  (Clean Coast Collective) , Ian Block and Luise Grossmann  (Five Oceans) , Tom Allen  (VII+) .

Natalie (Clean Coast Collective), Ian Block and Luise Grossmann (Five Oceans), Tom Allen (VII+).

The Product Life Cycle was discussed so that students understand that good design goes far beyond designing for product use and extends to other stages such as manufacture and shipping. Design methods and business models were discussed to ensure that a product's end of life sees it easily converted into something of higher value, rather than being downcycled or thrown into landfill.

Creative Industries teacher Dwayne Scicluna briefs the students.

In the afternoon, students then visited the FiveOceans factory - a local plastic injection moulding facility who work with some of Australia’s most respected brands to design, develop and manufacture premium plastic components. Students saw first hand different stages of the manufacturing process as well as learning about some of the challenges when producing plastic products.


At the FiveOceans manufacturing facility.

At the FiveOceans manufacturing facility.

"The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved." Richard Rogers.

With the valuable help of PSSC creative industry staff (especially Adam Jefford [HOD] and Dwayne Scicluna), students have gone on to produce FiveOceans fin keys from ocean waste. We'll share more about that process in a post in the near future. For the moment, check out some of the results below!

Fin keys made from ocean waste at Pimpama State Secondary College.

Fin keys made from ocean waste at Pimpama State Secondary College.