Students learn a stinky lesson about garbage

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CALUMET, Mich. (WLUC) -- Some fourth grade students at CLK Elementary said the day's lesson stunk. But that didn't stop them from digging through trash to learn about waste management on May 9.

Some fourth grade students at CLK Elementary said the day's lesson stunk. But that didn't stop them from digging through trash to learn about waste management on May 9.

"We have to do "garbology," where we get all the garbage from our grade and we'll have to put on a tarp," fourth grade student Dawson Kauppinen said. "And we have to separate all the plastic, metal, paper and a bunch of other stuff."

Two educators from Michigan Technological University's Center for Science and Environmental Outreach came to the school to talk about waste, calling the subject "garbology."

Students collected a day's worth of the entire elementary school's classroom garbage, and then dumped it all out on tarps.

"They're going to be sorting it into cardboard, food waste, and getting an appreciation of what makes up our waste stream, and then thinking about ways they can recycle that or use it, or reduce what they use," said Erika Vye, geoheritage outreach coordinator for the Center.

The students decided what to do with the garbage following the three Rs in waste management: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Educators said young students who develop environmentally-friendly habits were more likely to continue those habits into adulthood.

"[They're learning] responsible citizenship, stewardship of this beautiful Lake Superior Watershed," fourth grade teacher Debbie Pavolich said. "We have to get kids ready to be responsible citizens, and that's what we're teaching them. Just being responsible."

The students sorted a total 69 pounds of trash. They found a quarter of that was recyclable paper, and nearly half was compostable food waste.

Since January, educators from the Center have talked to more than 400 kids at 18 schools.



 
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