It’s Not a Dump!

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DUMP! Now that I have your attention, it’s a LANDFILL! Explaining the difference is a passion of Nathan from the RDEK, and this “D” word is simply not allowed on his field trips.

Pinewood students wrapped up their Beyond Recycling program with a trip though the waste stream in Cranbrook with the notorious guide, Nathan. The first stop was the transfer station, where we saw drop off spots for all the “regular” recycling, and many more things including household hazardous waste, metal, clean wood, yard waste, and Nathan’s favourite: mattresses. We also noted the differences between the yellow bin system at the school and the City’s residential curbside recycling.

Next stop: the materials recycling facility, also known as the MRF, which is a funny word to say apparently… The MRF is where we learned our class weighs 3439 lbs (1560 kg) – and where recycling gets sorted and bundled before being sent away to the recycling facilities. Possibly the coolest and loudest stop of the day, the MRF is an active work facility with automatic sorters, human sorters, and a real-life WallE machine!

We finished off the day touring the East Kootenay Regional Landfill. Definitely not a dump, the landfill is an engineered storage facility designed to keep everything in place until some future time that we invent economical ways to deal with our trash. New this year, we got to see the start of the new compost section, where residential compost will go once curbside pickup starts.

The final activity of the day was Nathan’s favourite game, Spot the Mattress. Yes, we learned earlier in the day that mattresses can be recycled, but we finished our day noticing that they often don’t. Today we say 14 mattresses floating to the top of the landfill, bringing home the idea that while so many different things CAN be recycled, we all need reminders now and again to actually DO so.