Thirty-nine Liberty Bell High School science students saw first-hand how and how much solid waste is handled in the Methow Valley on a March 31 field trip to Methow Recycles and the Okanogan County central landfill, according to a Methow Recycles press release.
The field trip followed recycling-related lessons with Methow Recycles plant manager Susan Ernsdorff in Lisa Monahan’s and Tyler Slostad’s science classes. The classroom lessons and field trip were made possible by a grant from the Methow Valley Public School Funding Alliance as part of a project to explore the waste stream.
In Twisp, students learned how the transfer station and the recycling center process 4,100 tons of solid waste and 600 tons of recyclable material in a year. At the central landfill, county solid waste coordinator Gary George talked about operating a modern solid waste facility. One of his biggest challenges? Plastic shopping bags.
Many students expressed surprise at the size of the operation and the implications of how much is being thrown away, according to the press release.
Students in Slostad’s environmental studies class are using the results of their field trip to host an Earth Day event about waste reduction and recycling for fifth- and sixth-graders at Methow Valley Elementary. Monahan’s chemistry students are also planning follow-up activities.
“All of us involved with Methow Recycles are very excited to be able to reach out to young people and invite them to look more closely at a universal part of life that few of us think much about,” said Betsy Cushman, Methow Recycles executive director.