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Family friendly field trip to a transfer station?

Our school's green team is contemplating something a bit radical. A field trip. With kids. To the transfer station. Also known as 'the dump.'

I went to the transfer station while in Master Recycler training. I wasn't able to take a picture that really captured the vastness or essence of the transfer station. But I do kind of like this one:

The transfer station is huge. There's garbage trucks and pickup trucks and the hazardous waste section. There's the yard debris and construction debris. And piles of broken down sofas. And then the mountains and mountains of smelly stuff that is household garbage. You know. The bags of dog poop. The vacuum cleaner bags. The dinners our kids didn't finish. Oh and all the stuff from restaurants and school cafeterias and hospitals. Did I forget to mention the rats? The rats LOVE the transfer station, especially when food waste is mixed in. There's giant mechanical compactors and mind-boggling stats about the tons and tons of waste that are deposited here, then transferred to the landfill on a daily basis. Then of course, there's the smell. That's the primary reason a picture can't do it justice. The smell is hard to describe, but I'd guess you can imagine. The smell is not to be forgotten.

It is my humble opinion that anyone who benefits from municipal curbside waste collection should visit a transfer station and/or a landfill so that they can get down on their knees and thank the people who do this important job for them. I think it would make them pay their garbage/recycling bills with glee! They might start adding in tips for the haulers!

But kids? Not so sure. This field trip is planned for next month. I have a 5 and an 8 year old. Would they understand the enormity and importance of the job these people do? Or would they only complain about the horrific smell? Tell me, have you or would you take your kids to a transfer station or landfill?


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