Kinser Elementary third-graders learn about recycling
February 2, 2009
OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — It was a stinky and garbage-filled day for two Camp Kinser third-grade classes Friday as they learned about recycling.
Alice Dickinson’s class collects all the recyclable material at Kinser Elementary School, and she wanted her students to see what happens to recyclables and where the rest of the trash goes.
Griselda Ready’s class tagged along for the learning experience.
Seeing the process will make recycling a reality for the two classes, Dickinson said.
The 33 students started with a tour of the Camp Foster Recycling Center. There, Jeff Strain, the center’s materials identification handler, told the children that landfill space on Okinawa is running out and part of the problem is that too many recyclable materials are being thrown away.
"In all reality, there isn’t a thing on this planet that isn’t recyclable," he said. Though the Foster facility can’t take everything, it does recycle items like cans, paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and scrap metal, Strain explained.
He hopes the students "will take this lesson home to their parents … and decrease the flow going to the landfill," Strain said.
The children also toured Kurashiki Kankyo, the off-base landfill in Okinawa City where trash from all U.S. bases is dumped.
"The landfill is pretty shocking when you see how much is there," Strain said of the mountains of trash at Kurashiki Kankyo.
Amid the stench and trash, the children listened with wrinkled noses as waste disposal workers explained what happens to the garbage.
Seeing how much recyclable stuff was in the trash surprised Akina Johnson, 9, and the other students.
That’s why it’s important to remember to recycle, "so our Earth can be clean," Akina said.