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Educational Service Unit #13

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Fieldtrip to the Landfill

Recently the 1st grade classes went to the City of Gering Landfill and Baling Station as part of their spring fieldtrip. You might not think that that is a very good field trip, but the kids found it fun and they learned a lot.

In addition to learning that sometimes trash is smelly, we learned that each person produces more than 4 pounds of trash a day. A lot of that trash can be recycled but isn’t. Nearly 60-70% of trash that we send to the landfill could actually be reused or recycled. We recycle less than 1% of the plastic that we use. Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic beverage bottles every hour! (www.northernsafety.com/insight/month/0412) Once a plastic bottle is in the landfill, it takes close to 700 years for it to decompose. Plastic isn’t the only thing we should recycle. Aluminum is easily recycled. The Hershey Chocolate Company manufactures 20,000,000 Hershey Kisses every day. That is about 133 square miles of recyclable aluminum. All of that aluminum is recyclable.

We learned that recycling has many benefits. By recycling a ton of paper, we can save 17 trees and 60,000 gallons of water. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a television for three hours. More information on the benefits of recycling can be found at http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/recycling-statistics.html.

It’s easy to recycle in our communities. Many communities have home recycling pick up. If not, there are collection dumpsters around town. You can put all of the recyclables together, no sorting needed!

What can you recycle? Food boxes and box board like empty cereal boxes; newspapers, brown paper bags, phone books, books, catalogs, magazines, office and school paper, junk mail, cardboard; plastic bottles and containers (#1-#7 check the number inside the little triangle on your plastic containers); aluminum foil, tin and aluminum cans, caps and lids. Glass can be recycled but you have to take it to drop offs at WNCC and Main Street Market. These things cannot go in the blue recycling bin: glass of any type, plastic bags of any type; used paper towels, tissues; used paper plates, cups; metallic wrapping paper; wax paper, laminated paper; any paper contaminated with food waste, shredded paper; Styrofoam, trash/food waste; zip lock bags, sandwich bags; plastic silverware; motor oil containers; ceramics; construction and demolition materials; wood; vinyl siding.

Help our first graders by recycling what you can. Remember, no plastic bags in the recycle bin!