Students weighed themselves on the scale to see how much it would cost to dispose of the class weight. At 1,150 lb, it would cost $120 to dump everyone! Photo: Wildsight

Students weighed themselves on the scale to see how much it would cost to dispose of the class weight. At 1,150 lb, it would cost $120 to dump everyone! Photo: Wildsight

Waste out of sight but not out of mind for Kootenay Columbia students

Beyond Recycling is a 24-week exploration into the energy, waste and consumption in daily lives.

When most people throw something away, that’s usually the last thought they give to the piece of garbage now in the trash, Wildsight educators advise.

But students attending elementary school in Warfield will likely think twice after Wildsight took them on a field trip to the McKelvey Creek Landfill where they learned the valuable lesson that “just because it is out of sight, it should not be out of mind.”

Students in Grade 6/7 took a trip to the landfill, located in Trail, earlier this month. The outing was part of Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program, which teaches youth 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,” explains Jessica Williams, Wildsight educator. “Students got to see where and how the waste was separated and disposed of in the landfill.”

The class went on a warm day, perfect for seeing the heat coming off the organics pile due to decomposing.

Students visited the Trail landfill on a warm day, perfect for seeing heat coming off the organics pile due to decomposing. Photo: Wildsight

Students visited the Trail landfill on a warm day, perfect for seeing heat coming off the organics pile due to decomposing. Photo: Wildsight

“They learned that if they all keep reducing, reusing, and recycling, this specific landfill will have a life expectancy to year 2090,” Williams said. “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, 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.

Williams adds, “Students now know there is so much more to their local bottle depot other than bottles and cans.”

The Wildsight educator is hopeful the outing helps students 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,” she said. “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 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.

Read more: Keep old Christmas lights out of the landfill, B.C. recycles

Read more: Recycle major appliances for free in Kootenay Boundary



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Want to learn more about how to reduce your own waste habits?

Visit recyclebc.ca and return-it.ca. To learn about Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program, visit https://wildsight.ca/programs.

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.

EducationEnvironmentSchool District No. 20 Kootenay-Columbia

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