Recyclers take pupils on 'Trash Odyssey' Arundel students visit landfill, learn how it works

October 09, 1998|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Think of a landfill as a trash pie.

"There is a crust, or liners, at the top and bottom and trash in the middle," Beryl Friel, Anne Arundel County's recycling coordinator, told 350 elementary and middle school students yesterday as they toured the county landfill in Millersville.

Friel, who had made herself up as Re-Re the clown -- with white face paint and a red nose -- greeted children from Annapolis Middle School and Cape St. Claire, Odenton, Van Bokkelen and West Meade elementary schools when they got off their buses to begin the second annual "Trash Odyssey" at the landfill.

Third-graders from Van Bokkelen were first on the tour, which started with a lesson on how liners are used to keep dirty water from leaching into the drinking supply.

Trash, explained Ray Riggin, the county's environmental programs manager, is kept in waste mounds called cells. The cells are topped with filters that catch rainwater.

"When rainwater gets into the trash, we collect it, and it looks like this," Riggin said, holding up a jar of dirty brown water.

The children, seated on bales of hay under canopies, squirmed and murmured, "Gross "

HTC "We collect it and treat it, and then it looks like this," he said, holding a jar of clear water. "That's how we protect the environment."

After a quick lesson on what not to throw in the trash -- paint and pesticides, for example -- and how to use baking soda, sugar or chili powder to kill ants and roaches, the children asked questions.

"But how do we get the ants and roaches out of the house -- where do we put those?" one boy asked.

"Oh, we'll take those," Riggin said. "They can go in the trash."

By the end of the two-hour tour, the children knew what should be left in separate containers at the curb for recycling.

"We really want them to understand what happens to their trash after it leaves the curb," Friel said.

Pub Date: 10/09/98

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