Waste out of sight but not out of mind for students

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When most people throw something away, that’s usually the last thought they give to the piece of garbage now in the trash. But students in Warfield’s J.L. Webster Elementary will likely think twice after a field trip to the local landfill, where they learned the valuable lesson that just because it is not out of sight, it should not be out of mind.

Students in Mrs. Lutz-Miller’s Grade 6/7 class took a trip to the landfill this December as part of their Wildsight Beyond Recycling program to learn about waste management, recycling processes, and product stewardship. Landfill manager Steve Crossman gave the class a very informative tour of the entire facility.

“We learned about the residential and commercial recycling as well as hazardous waste return programs. The students got to see where and how the waste was separated and disposed of in the landfill,” reports Wildight Educator Jessica Williams.

They went on a warm day, perfect for seeing the heat coming off the organics pile due to decomposing. They learned that if they all keep reducing, reusing, and recycling, this specific landfill will have a life expectancy to year 2090! Students absorbed a lot of information during the field trip. Even the teacher admitted to not realizing how much more she could be recycling!

After the tour to McKelvey Creek Landfill, the students then headed to the Encorp Return-it Bottle Depot in Trail and learned about the plethora of recyclable products like toasters, computers, TVs and more that are dropped off and then transported to facilities for recycling or reuse. Other items such as light bulbs, batteries, paint, and ziplock bags can also be returned here. Students now know there is so much more to their local bottle depot other than bottles and cans!

Ms. Williams hopes the outing helps the students to understand where their garbage goes, and how important it is to manage waste and recycling at home.

“This trip can truly have a positive trickle effect on the community,” says Ms. Williams. “Hopefully by the students seeing and smelling and hearing the landfill, it makes a lasting impression on what their family considers waste. The students literally got to experience where “away” is in the statement “just throw it away.”

Beyond Recycling is a 24-week exploration into the energy, waste and consumption in our daily lives, and how everyday actions affect the health of the planet. The goal of this program is to focus on solutions, and to empower youth to become leaders on positive environmental changes both now and into the future.

Want to learn more about how to reduce your own waste habits? Visit recyclebc.ca and return-it.ca.

Beyond Recycling is made possible thanks to generous funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, the CSRD, NSERC, the Province of British Columbia, the RDCK, the RDFFG, TD Friends of the Environment and individual donors. 

 In Beyond Recycling, grade 5 and 6 students embark on a rich 24-week investigation into the impact of their lifestyles—energy, waste and…Learn more