the absolute last stop - the landfill - students were informed that we should try to keep as much out of here as possible… and how it can it be done. (Contributed-Wildsight)

the absolute last stop - the landfill - students were informed that we should try to keep as much out of here as possible… and how it can it be done. (Contributed-Wildsight)

What a waste — or not! — at the Revelstoke Transfer Station

Grade 5s from Begbie View Elementary tour the landfill

Jade Harvey-Berril

Wildsight Education

On a cool and misty December day, the Grade 5s from Begbie View Elementary took a journey across town, to the outer reaches of the City of Revelstoke, to the mysterious lands of the Revelstoke Transfer Station and Landfill.

Locked in on one aspect by the mighty Boulder and Frisby Mountains and by the swift Chickadee or Columbia River to the other, this has to be one of the most picturesque landfills going. Starting at the transfer station, students in Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program saw the very ordered and well sorted areas dedicated to sorting the waste that people get rid of in Revelstoke.

A tower of mattresses goes shoulder to shoulder with a mountain of rich, deeply healthy looking soil. The mattresses are recycled in nearby Vernon, shredded into their component metals, foams and organic fibres. The fibres are then processed as part of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s (CSRD) ‘Kicking Compost’ scheme where compost is available at an incredible price, made from organic waste delivered to the four transfer stations they manage.

READ MORE: Recycle your smoke detector at the Revelstoke landfill

This is an important way to reduce resource and energy waste and reduce methane producing organic waste from hitting the landfill whilst creating a highly valuable product that can improve yield for gardeners and food growers.

Graham Casselman, Waste Reduction Coordinator for the CSRD, led an engaging and educational trip around the stations, including detailed information on recycling opportunities, especially for hazardous waste and what is being done to ensure even that is recycled — including paint, batteries and oils.

Looking at the heap of scrap metal and wood, Casselman shared about doing everything we can to keep materials out of landfill and being recycled, reused or repurposed hit home. The metal is compacted and transported away to be recycled. So much can be done. Better off, reduce consumption ourselves and repair or reuse materials before sending them to the transfer station!

READ MORE: Recycle your car seats at the Revelstoke landfill

Crossing the road to the open face of the landfill, the students were in awe at what the ‘away’ place of their waste is. The curling wisps of mist surrounding trash bags pyramids of stinky rubbish was a strong reminder to limit what we use to reduce our outputs. The amount of plastic in the hill of garbage really hit home.

Casselman and the CSRD are hard at work to reduce the amount of waste in our landfills and run a clean, tight ship. New projects are always on the go as new technology and programs become available or are searched out. One recent success is the desire to reduce baby car seat waste as they reach their expiration – it is one product that people don’t and probably shouldn’t reuse indefinitely. Now thanks to the CSRD’s hard work, the plastics and soft materials are recycled and seat belts are shared and made into durable bags by a local Revelstoke company!

With the holidays on the way, our group pondered the waste we create during this time. According to Zero Waste Canada, Canadians toss about 50 kilograms of garbage each over the holidays, 25 per cent more than the rest of the year, thanks to the purchases of 3,000 tonnes of foil, 2.6 billion Christmas cards and six million rolls of tape. Yikes!

We finished our trip with a thought to share our newfound knowledge with friends and family, hoping to make better choices in December and well beyond.

Beyond Recycling is a 24-week exploration into the energy, waste and consumption in our daily lives, and how everyday actions affect the health of the planet. The goal of this program is to focus on solutions, and to empower youth to become leaders on positive environmental changes both now and into the future. To learn about Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling program, visit beyondrecycling.ca

READ MORE: Composting coming to Revelstoke landfill

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