Saturday, January 24, 2009

Trash Talk

Friday was another field trip day. This time we headed to the Medina County Solid Waste Central Processing Facility. It wasn't nearly as stinky as I expected it to be. They hand sort tons (literally) of garbage each and every day! Billy Joe Bob who is ALWAYS at the front of the line in Room 1 has some tales to tell! Like the time he found $1200 rubber banded together or $2000 inside a McDonald's bag in a freezer. And guess what? Finder's Keepers!!!! That's right, if no one calls to claim it, the person who finds it gets to keep it! Except in the case of weapons which must be turned over to the police. They do pull out wallets and purses and keys and set them aside while making a reasonable attempt to contact the owner. Billy Joe Bob has recovered jewelery, toys and countless other treasures. I guess the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," is true!
It was fascinating to see the process of sorting the recyclables from the trash. The bags of trash travel on a conveyor belt through Room 1 where large items are pulled. Then to the trumbler which is a huge drum that continuously rotates. Inside the trumbler are huge blades that slice open the trash bags. Any cans (and smaller trash) fall through holes on the sides. This smaller trash and cans travel on a conveyor belt that goes past 2 very strong magnets. The first magnet pulls out the steel and the second magnet pulls out the aluminum. I think the second magnet was called the Eddy Currant Separator. The trash continues along the conveyor belt and rejoins the large trash from the trumbler. Next, it goes through Room 2 where another team of people pull out and sort any remaining items that can be recycled. Sometimes things get past them but for the most part they do an amazing job! Last year they were able to divert almost 50% of what was headed to a landfill. That's incredible!
I hope the kids enjoy these field trips as much as I do. I just love the behind-the-scenes look at how things work. The process of how different things work is always intriguing, or maybe I'm just nosey.


Vickie said...

I love the idea that there is a system for diverting half of the trash from our landfills. Thanks for the lesson.

cherkeemom said...

Here we sort ours and put recyclables in blue bags. If they do that then why do we seperate it.