I’m the designated driver for the munchkin’s school field trips. Some are more interesting than others, but who knew the trip to Hartland Landfill would be so fascinating?
The site is huge with a gas-to-electricity plant, a recycling and salvage area, a yard waste area….
We tour the 400 acre site by bus and our guide explains that there are 82 categories for recycling – bikes are sent to be refurbished and given to charity – that the solar panels spotted by the kids are used to create electricity to run the water testing stations.
When we reach the “garbage” area, the kids (grades 3 and 4) are most impressed with the piles of mattresses and the huge compactor and the fact that 3 hawks help to keep birds away so that they don’t get sick from picking at the garbage.
The technology of the “dump,” as we called it when we were kids, is impressive. Significant measures are in place to reduce the impact of waste on the environment and the site creates enough electricity to power 1,200 houses.
Eventually, likely by 2049, this landfill will have reached it’s limit and will be re-purposed.
After the tour the kids participate in an activity bound to capture their attention. The guide dumps a garbage can of party left-overs on the table. Soiled paper napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery, juice boxes, etc. She challenges the kids to work in groups to find ways to plan a party reducing the garbage and keeping the budget under $40.
Armed with a grocery store flyer and the list of items for a party of 10 kids they set to work. The groups list the things they can use from home: cloth napkins, metal forks and spoons, glasses and a cloth tablecloth and then “buy” the food.
Every group comes in under budget (the highest at $30.20) and with 11 to 12 garbage points. The original party left-overs clocked in at $64 and 49 garbage points.
On the way home, Grandpa, who didn’t bring his water bottle along, says he wants to stop and buy a bottle of water.
The munchkin reacts: “Seriously! After what you just saw?”
Grandpa waits until we get home to have a drink.