To the Dump! - and Beyond!

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School:  South Nelson

Grade 4 and 5 students from South Nelson School spent all day Friday getting the low down on what we throw down. This enlightening tour to the Ootischenia Landfill, the Waste Management Recycling Materials Recycling Facility in Brilliant, the RDCK transfer station and the Nelson Leaf’s Bottle Depot illustrated for students what happens to our stuff when we throw it ‘away’. At the Waste Management facility they discovered how much recyclable material is collected, compacted and shipped off for sorting and recycling in the West Kootenay region. The importance of cleaning packaging before it goes into the blue bags and RDCK receptacles was obvious when students found out that bucket loads of recyclables can end up in the landfill because of one dirty peanut butter jar! The next stop was the transfer station and Ootischenia Landfill. Under the enthusiastic guidance of Nicole Ward and Stan students were introduced to the careful management of waste as it comes to the transfer station where materials can be sorted and hope fully diverted from the final resting place for our unwanted stuff, the landfill. Once buried in the landfill our waste is preserved and will not decompose and future generations of people will continue to deal with our waste. Considering that there is only space for another 30 years’ worth of waste at this site, students realized how essential it is to make smart consumer choices to reduce the amount of garbage, to reuse and fix items, to compost and to recycle. At the Nelson Leaf’s bottle Depot students continued to learn about Product Stewardship and ways to keep small appliances, electronics, light bulbs, chemicals, paint and refundable drink containers from finding their way into the landfill and to reduce our need to extract new resources. It was an eye opening adventure into waste management which left students discussing that the best thing we can do is reduce the amount of garbage and recyclable materials we generate in the first place!