Nelson area students explore waste at the Ootischenia landfill.

Students go Beyond Recycling

Nelson students took part in a Wildsight education program to tackle topics like waste, ecological footprint, climate change and energy use.

What really happens when we throw things away? Do they disappear?

That’s the question Grade 4-6 students from schools in the Nelson area asked as they explored the contents of the local transfer station, landfill and recycling depot.

The students are taking part in Beyond Recycling, a Wildsight education program that tackles topics such as waste, ecological footprint, climate change and energy use.

Salmo, Kinnaird, Rosemont and Redfish Elementary Schools were four of 11 schools in the Columbia Basin Region that have taken part in Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling this year.

“This is not your ordinary field trip,” said Monica Nissen, education program manger for Wildsight. “The kids get to be detectives for a day, to solve the mystery of what happens to our waste once we throw it in the trash.”

Beyond Recycling aims to inspire students to consider the impact of their actions and to make positive environmental changes.

“This program has been developed to inspire young people to rethink, reduce and refuse consumption as well as reuse, repair and re-purpose goods — it goes way beyond recycling, which of course is also encouraged,” said Brittny Anderson, environmental services coordinator for the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

After leading students on a tour of the Ootischenia landfill, she said, “Students were surprised by a few things they observed. First of all, the amount of paper that had been disposed of rather than recycled by patrons, and perfectly useful items such as bikes and couches that had been disposed of instead of reused or recycled. It’s a great reminder of the importance of following a Zero Waste Model.”