Teaching Children How to Be Green
At Evergreen Waste Services, we believe education has no boundaries, and we take pride in educating our youth about our disposal and recycling services. Our Public Relations department offers our Recycle Works program at no charge to schools and organizations in the local communities. This program is a fun and interactive way of teaching our youth about the effects recycling has on the environment and how they can do their part in preserving the planet. We also teach them about different types of disposal facilities such as Waste-to-Energy Plants and Material Recovery Facilities (MRF - pronounced Murf).
Also, for recommended reading, kids can learn more about the trash process with "I Stink!" by Kate and Jim McMullen. This fun book is available through Amazon.
"Know what I do at night while you're asleep? Eat your trash, that's what! See those bags? I smell breakfast!?With ten wide tires, one really big appetite, and an even bigger smell, this truck's got it all. His job? Eating your garbage and loving every stinky second of it!?And you thought nighttime was just for sleeping." (excerpt from "I Stink!")
When your parents ask you to take out the trash, do you ever wonder where it goes? There are a few different places trash can go. It can go into a landfill , a Waste-to-Energy plant or a Materials Recovery Facility . Landfills are the most common of the three. A landfill, also known as a dump, is a site for the disposal of waste materials. It is the oldest form of disposal.
Protecting our groundwater - A -(for diagram above)
- B - Clay - To separate the water from the trash
- C - Plastic Liner - To contain the garbage
- D - Leachate Collection Pipe - Collects the water created from the garbage mixed with rain and disposes of it
- E - Geotextile Mat - Created to support the soil that seeps through the garbage
- F - Gravel - Supports the soil and cells
One of the most important things for trash is decomposition, and the most important thing for decomposition is air. If we pile trash over and over where no air can get to it, it will always be trash. That is why landfill designers came up with cells. Instead of piling trash, landfill operators create cells, or blocks, out of it. A cell's size is based on the landfill. A larger landfill will have larger cells than a smaller landfill. Some landfills build cells up to 2500 tons. After the cells are created, they are placed in the landfill far enough apart so air can get to the trash and then they are covered with soil.
Methane to Energy
When air can't get to a landfill , bacteria begins to break down the trash. This happens in all landfills. A byproduct of this bacteria is a gas made up of 50% methane and 50% carbon dioxide with small amounts of nitrogen and oxygen. We call this gas methane . Methane is highly flammable and must be removed in order to prevent dangerous fires and explosions. In order to remove this gas, the landfill operators put in a series of extraction pipes. Some landfills burn the methane to dispose of it. Others turn it into energy.
The most efficient and environmental landfills use the method of turning methane into energy. These methane into energy landfills extract the gas with methane extraction pipes, then burn it in order to power the facility. Visit your local landfill to see if they use the method of turning methane into energy.
Waste-to-Energy Plants are plants that burn trash in order to create electricity. Trash is considered a very energy-rich fuel, much like coal. Burning trash for energy works a lot like burning coal for energy:
- The trash (coal) is burned, releasing heat.
- The heat then turns water into steam.
- The high-pressure steam is able to turn the blades of a large generator, which produces electricity.
- Utility companies can then send that electricity through power lines to homes, schools and other facilities.
Burning trash also reduces the size of landfills. The more trash we burn, the less trash in landfills.
Materials Recovery Facility (MRF - pronounced Murf)
A Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is used for recyclables. Your trash collectors bring all of your recyclables to this facility. Most MRFs use Single Stream Recycling . Single Stream Recycling is when all of your recyclables are dumped onto one stream (conveyer belt) and separated by both manpower and machinery. Using this type of recycling is much easier for the facilities, the disposal companies and the consumers. Once everything is separated, it is then recycled.
Print a Coloring Book
How to Make Your Own Paper
What you will need:
- Blender or egg beater
- Mixing bowl
- Flat dish or pan (9" x 13")
- Round jar or rolling pin
- Newsprint, scrap paper or wrapping paper
- Piece of non-rusting screen (the size of the paper you'd like to make)
- 4 pieces of cloth to use for blotting the paper
- 10 pieces of newspaper for blotting
- 2 cups of hot water
- 2 teaspoons of instant starch (optional)
What to do:
- Tear the newspaper, scrap paper, or wrapping paper into very small bits. Add 2 cups of hot water to 1/2 cup of shredded paper.
- Beat the paper and water in the blender, or with the egg beater, to make pulp. Mix in the starch (optional). Completed pulp should be the consistency of split pea soup.
- Pour the pulp into the flat pan.
- Slide the screen into the bottom of the pan and move it around until it is evenly covered with pulp.
- Lift the screen out of the pan carefully. Hold it level and let it drain for a minute.
- Put the screen, pulp-side up, on a blotter that is placed on top of newspaper. Put another blotter over the pulp, and more newspaper over that.
- Roll a jar or rolling pin over the "sandwich" of blotter paper to squeeze out the rest of the water.
- Take off the top newspaper. Flip the blotter and the screen very carefully. Do not move the pulp, it will take at least 12 to 24 hours to dry depending on how thick and wet the paper is. Wow!! There is your own hand-made paper! (If you have leftover pulp, don't pour it down the drain--you might clog things up. Put it in the trash.)
- Try this again and use some decorative elements such as colored thread, glitter, dried flowers and leaves to add some flair. Now you can make cards or note paper out of your newly created paper.
An Edible Landfill
To discover how a landfill works by creating one that we can eat.
First, a big hole is dug for a landfill. Then, that hole is lined to prevent ground water contamination. Pipes are at the bottom of the landfill to collect rain that filters in with the garbage.
Rainwater combined with liquid garbage is called the leachate . Each day, garbage trucks dump approximately 2,000 tons of garbage into the landfill . Afterwards, the garbage is compacted and six inches of soil is placed on top of the newest layer of garbage. Tomorrow, the cycle begins again.
*Be sure to buy no-bake vanilla pudding instead of the type that you have to bake.
*Make sure no one is allergic to any of the ingredients prior to starting the Edible Landfill.
- 1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust for each group of 5
- Licorice Whips
- Fruit Roll-Ups
- M&Ms or other candy
- Vanilla Pudding
- Chocolate Pudding
- Buy the ingredients listed in the materials section.
- If you buy the no-bake instant pudding, make the pudding with the students as part of the activity. You will likely also have to buy milk and other ingredients for the pudding.
- Cover the work surface with newspaper.
- Bring serving utensils and paper plates so the students can eat their edible landfills.
- Divide into groups of five.
- Place a graham cracker pie crust in front of each group. Explain that this crust represents the hole in the ground for the landfill.
- Put a fruit roll up on top of the pie crust. Ask the groups if they have any idea what this represents? (It is the plastic lining in a landfill that prevents the garbage from contaminating the groundwater).
- Tell students to lace licorice whips along the bottom of the crust. Before any trash can go in, a landfill hole is lined with pipes to remove the liquids from the garbage and decomposition. The licorice is our version of the pipes!
- Mix some "garbage" made of nuts, raisins, M&Ms, etc. into the vanilla pudding to make your trash.
- Cover the bottom of the crust with this garbage.
- Now cover the vanilla pudding with chocolate pudding. This represents the layer of dirt that is placed upon the garbage each day.
- Make as many alternating pudding layers as you can until the crust is full. Make sure the top is a chocolate pudding dirt layer. What happens to our garbage when it is buried in a landfill? Sadly, the garbage that we bury never goes away completely. Not much decomposition occurs, because the air and moisture needed by garbage-chewing microorganisms are sealed out. Many landfills become parks, ski hills, and golf courses.
How Recycling Works
Ground water contamination - Groundwater is rain water or water from lakes and streams, that soak into the soil and bedrock and is stored underground in the tiny spaces between rocks and soil. Groundwater contamination occurs when hazardous substances come into contact and dissolve in the water that has soaked into the soil.
Leachate - When rainwater and garbage combine and leak into the Earth.
Landfill - A carefully designed structure built into or on top of the ground in which trash is isolated from the surrounding environment (groundwater, air, rain). This isolation is accomplished with a bottom liner and daily covering of soil.
Waste-to-energy plant - Waste-to-Energy Plants are plants that burn trash in order to create electricity.
Materials Recovery Facility - A Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is where all recyclables are taken to be recycled.
Single Stream Recycling - Single Stream Recycling is when all of your recyclables are dumped onto one stream (conveyer belt) and separated by both manpower and machinery, then recycled.