Home > Mom's Life > Managing Your Home > Going Green > Recycling > Tour #1: The Trash Trail

Tour #1: The Trash Trail

Following the trash trail from the kitchen wastebasket to litter's final resting place can be a real trip. The first stop on our journey was the town's shining new transfer station (conveniently located next to the old landfill -- a.k.a. dump).

A transfer station is a fancy name for a place that collects a community's rubbish before shipping it off to a regional solid waste facility. Usually trash gets trucked to a landfill (high-tech dump) or incinerator plant. In our town, trash gets shipped to a huge trash-to-energy plant. And it's burned to produce electricity. Today's coffee grounds are converted into kilowatts -- which in turn power the coffee maker and produce yet more coffee grounds. Very efficient.

My wife's biggest problem was keeping me and the kids from dumpster diving for treasure. It's amazing how much great stuff folks get rid of.

Next we moved on to talk to the crew running the station. They were delighted to have a conversation with members of the public that didn't start out with a complaint about the price of dump stickers. After we explained what we were doing, the shift supervisor quickly agreed to give us a walking tour of the site. He was eager to explain each step in the process.

The transfer station super was something of an amateur anthropologist. "Trash tells the truth," he said, "and you can learn a lot about people by looking at the things they throw away. When times are good, people throw away perfectly adequate items just because they aren't new. The first year they came out with big screen TVs, we suddenly saw thousands of perfectly good sets getting tossed away. When microwave ovens were introduced a few years back, we were flooded with toaster ovens. And so it goes."

Some questions worth asking on the trash tour:

  1. What happens to all the stuff we throw away?
  2. How does a landfill work?
  3. How much waste is recycled?
  4. How are hazardous waste products such as old paint cans, tires, and used motor oil, processed?
  5. What can we do to reduce the amount of trash being thrown away?

Return to the tour's home page or click on one of the links below to continue on the journey:

More on: Going Green



Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks