A Journey Through the History of Waste

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This week in Mrs. Evdokimoff’s Gr.5/6 class, we took a journey through the History of Waste to see how our garbage habits have changed over time. We started by travelling back to prehistoric times, where our cavewoman Brooklyn demonstrated how throughout most of human history, we really only produced organic wastes that could easily be returned to the earth. From there, we fast forwarded through history to visit some other significant time periods (The dawn of agriculture, Ancient Greece, the Industrial Revolution and the mid-1900s, post WWII). We were interested to see how our changing lifestyles affected the types of waste we created throughout our history and were amazed by the huge change in the last 50 years. In the blink of an eye, we have seen a massive increase in the amount of waste produced by our society (a whopping 2.1 kg of waster per Canadian, per day!). We discussed the reasons behind this increase and identified disposable items, plastic packaging and a consumer society as the root problems.

Our historic guests were shocked by some of the stories our modern day students shared about todays ‘throw-away culture” (people throwing away perfectly good iPhones just because they want the newest model or buying a brand new toaster instead of repairing it). We wrapped up the class by brainstorming ways of reducing our waste, including ‘waste free lunches’ and participating in RDCK’s Trash to Treasure day on October 22!