Children (and Adults!) Benefit From Visits to Landfill Site Environmental Resource Centres
Landfills traditionally have a reputation as unpleasant places, but many modern landfills are throwing off that image and building Landfill Site Environmental Resource Centres, for school and pre-school children to learn about sustainable principles of waste management. Both teachers and children that have have dropped in for a tour have enjoyed the visit and found the subject a real “eye opener” about what happens to their municipal solid waste.
Landfills nowadays are built to high standards to control odours, flies, leachate (the contaminated water that runs off from landfill sites) and landfill gas which, where possible, is used as an on-site energy source. These places have changed. The litter has gone, and in the place there is even green planting, and flowers. One landfill even has its own plant nursery to grow the local plants for restocking the finished area so that the very same plants can be put back afterwards. So what has happened? Well the owners have taken on-board the need for improved environmental performance, and they have now realised that if they want another landfill when this one is full they will have to be a good neighbour. So, the best of them have taken the idea of good neighbourliness a bit further and added a training and educational resource centre to their site (Landfill Site Environmental Resource Centres), for children and students.
For a full picture of the driving force behind these centres watch our own video below, which explains what these centres do:
You can watch a full screen version of this on the YouTube website “What is an Environmental Resource Centre?” here.
The result is visitors from the student population spanning all ages. All that show an interest are welcome at Landfill Site Environmental Resource Centres, and the landfill staff can now hold a pride in their company for the “green” education they provide. The effect of education proving is infectious and brings out the best in all. The pupils in turn are told of the huge quantities of waste which must be handled and the vast investment needed on a continuous basis, unless they will themselves take some responsibility for reducing the waste they produce.
Each visitor can hardly fail to leave without a much deeper understanding of the problems faced by landfill operators to prevent nuisance and environmental damage. It is not easy and the new measures do cost a lot of money. It is a fact that student questionnaires show that these mini-courses and projects at the landfill sites are extremely well received by the visitors, and in interacting with the media provided they rapidly develop a much better understanding of the need for waste reduction minimisation, recycling, and reprocessing.
In addition to the ordinary people which visit the many landfill site environmental resource centres, they are popular with politicians and experts who attend to give specialist presentations to local residents on particular nature and conservation topics of interest.. It always delights the landfill resource centre staff when experts from other nations are obviously impressed by the techniques our operators use to collect and treat he leachate, and to extract and harness the landfill gas to produce green renewable energy.
One aspect is the educational benefit for kids as they do learn so well by using the interactive, hands on learning materials provided at these centres. It has often been said that the subject of waste management is a particularly easy subject to engage children’s involvement in. For a start there is never any shortage of materials – recycled of course – freely available at these centres for the children to use in their projects in imaginative ways.
While the work goes in within the educational centre on each site, the visitors also can observe site practise. This transparency helps give the neighbourhood the reassurance that any lapses in the environmental protection provided by the operator would be seen by the visitors straight away. If standards dropped in no time at all these failings would complained about, without any doubt.
So, the new breed of landfill site visitor centre (Landfill Site Environmental Resource Centre), usually funded by a combination of site owner and charities, and they are fast becoming a great, but unexpected, success story.