Ocean Plastics Academy

Inspiring the next generation to eliminate plastic waste

Marine plastic pollution is a visible and pervasive environmental and social issue affecting ocean, human and economic health. We believe that equipping young people with the knowledge, experience and courage to address plastic pollution is an important part of the solution. Ocean Plastics Academy supports educators by providing them with an authoritative and standards-linked set of resources aligned with the national curriculum to support students to build their knowledge on related topics year on year.


A shared understanding of plastic across its entire life cycle - including its impact on the marine environment - is crucial in developing meaningful responses and informing action on a personal and community level. Literacy is the starting point for the education programme. A plastics literate population will be able to inform good governance, as leaders, citizens and voters. However, literacy on its own is not enough and the Ocean Plastics Academy is bringing teaching materials alive by developing innovative engagement tools that help to shift literacy into action.

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"The Ocean Plastics Academy from Common Seas will support the next generation to learn their way out of the plastic pollution crisis while deepening their understanding of our intimate relationship with the greatest life support system on our planet, the ocean." James Honeyborne
Executive Producer BLUE PLANET ll

How it works

We have adopted two approaches to environmental and sustainability education. First, the links between literacy, action and governance; and second, UNESCO’s use of cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural learning outcomes as part of education for the Sustainable Development Goals. This approach is being rolled out on a country-by-country basis. Starting in the UK, a replicable model has been developed.

Taking this strategic approach country-by-country means that the Ocean Plastics Academy is accessible, authoritative and appropriate.

  • It works with curriculum structures and educational organisations so that the topic of marine plastic pollution is a core part of the taught curriculum.
  • It works with subject associations and practising teachers in a country so that the classroom resources support the needs of teachers in that country.
  • And it works with university researchers and plastics experts so that the classroom resources are authoritative sources of information for educators and learners.
© Jeremy Bishop

Ocean Plastics Academy Outputs

UK specific

  1. Teacher resources to deliver lessons on plastics and their impact on the marine environment. Designed for ages 5-16, aligned to the National Curriculum for England programmes of study for Science, Geography and Design & Technology.
  2. Multimedia resources and activities aimed at both formal and informal learning environments.
  3. Professional development in the form of a modular online course for teachers wishing to improve their subject knowledge on plastics and their impact on the marine environment.
  4. Live interactions with plastics experts, scientists, live autopsies of sea life affected by plastics, virtual explorations of the problem, visits to labs and design studios.

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