Are You Sure It's Waste?

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School:  Hume Elementary

Hume’s grade 5 class has been investigating waste. What happens to all that stuff we throw away?  How much of our waste can be diverted from our local landfill by reducing, reusing, repairing, refusing, rethinking and recycling? We took a tour to find out more!

Students discovered that we can stop small appliances, electronics, light bulbs, chemicals, paint and refundable drink containers from entering the landfill- with one easy stop at the Nelson Leaf’s Recycling Centre!

At the RDCK Transfer Station Mr. C’s students witnessed how resources are sorted and diverted from the landfill helping to reduce our need to extract new raw materials and prolonging the life of our resources and landfill. It is essential to sort out metal, glass, tires, wood, green waste and recyclable materials before the junk hits the ground and is buried forever at Ooteschenia. Our waste is preserved perfectly in the landfill leaving future generations to live with our trash.

Stan, the manager of operations at the Ooteschenia Landfill enthusiastically detailed the art of building a landfill. We saw machinery at work, compacting a huge mattress as well as truckloads (elephants upon elephants) of waste which arrive daily to the site.  With space for only another 30ish years’ worth of waste we realize how important it is to reduce what we throw away.

Our recyclables from blue bags, classrooms and RDCK bins all meet at the Brilliant Waste Management Facility. Here we saw how these resources are compacted and shipped off to be sorted in Spokane, before being transported for recycling around North America. We were shocked to see what crazy things get tossed into the recycling and how easily a bale of recyclables turns into garbage because of contamination. “If it’s not clean enough to put back in your cupboard then don’t put it in the recycling”, advice from Darcy at Waste Management.

What an eye opening adventure into our local waste management.