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Plastic then and now

How did plastic pollution become a problem? 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our ocean every year. But what is plastic and why do we use so much of it? In this collection, you will learn about what plastic is and how it became a household staple. Join our youth host Jay to find out about the sources of plastic, then join him on a journey through time to see how our relationship with plastic has changed over time. Next, we'll step inside Ocean Wise’s high-tech Plastic Lab to investigate where microplastics come from, and learn from Chelsea Rochman and Max Liboiron about the price we pay for the convenience of plastic. End your journey with four changemakers who want to stop plastic pollution.

Media Type

  • InteractiveInteractive
  • Virtual realityVirtual reality
  • VideoVideo
  • NewsreelNewsreel

We made this collection with the University of Toronto Trash Team. This partnership was born out of a shared love for our waterways, environmental education, and scientific research. The U of T Trash Team has generously provided expertise on plastic pollution and solutions to decrease waste. We have adapted lessons and activities from their education resources, and their team has meticulously validated the content in English and French. We are grateful for their support and friendship! Click here to learn more about the U of T Trash Team.

There are two versions of Plastics on trial. The video is the same, but the activities are different. "Plastics on trial: BabyLegs" is meant for highschool students, and "Plastics on trial: Ice Cream Scoop" is more appropriate for elementary students. Please select accordingly when you generate the sharing link for your class.

In this collection

  • 7 resources
  • Adventure Time 1 h 18 min
  • Activity Time 8 h 35 min

Thanks to


  • U of T Trash Team
  • Ocean Wise
  • Coastal Action