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The Benefits of Interactive, In-Person Waste Facility Tours 

In a world where environmental awareness is gaining momentum and power, the significance of sustainable practices is becoming increasingly important. Composting, recycling, and diverting from landfills is essential for cutting waste and protecting the environment for future generations. While many of us are familiar with the concept of recycling, composting and landfills, the true process of what happens to your waste after it leaves your bin often goes unnoticed. Interactive, In-Person tours of facilities that handle waste in your local area have proven to become very effective, educational, and engaging methods in closing this awareness gap.  

One of the primary advantages of interactive tours is the educational value they provide. Participants gain firsthand knowledge of waste processes, from collection to sorting and reuse. Seeing the journey of waste materials being offloaded from collection trucks, entering the facility, and sent off to its next destination can be a powerful and memorable learning experience. Hands-on education fosters a deeper understanding of the importance of waste management and encourages participants to make informed choices and changes in their daily lives. 

Interactive tours provide an excellent platform for community engagement. Tours have the ability to unite people who have a passion for sustainability and individuals who are just starting to learn. Participants have the opportunity to learn best sorting practices, ask questions, find hard to recycle item methods and build a sense of community around environmental stewardship. In-Person tours can further encourage individuals to take action for a greener future. 

We here at RethinkWaste have created the only In-Person facility tours in the local peninsula area! The tour of the Shoreway Environmental Center provides a firsthand look inside of the facilities where your waste goes after the bin.  

Tour participants are given an inside look of the Transfer Station, where the materials from the green compost and black landfill bin are handled. Along with the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where items from your blue recycle bin are sorted by machines and human sorters. The tour not only provides an inside look at the facilities, but guides participants on a review of what specific items are accepted in the bins, the importance of proper sorting by viewing how items like plastic bags can jam sorting machines and how batteries can cause safety issues for staff like fires, along with how to practice the 4 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot).  

The tour also mentions the free on-site resources like the Public Recycling Center, where the public can drop off hard to recycle items like paint, oil and electronics, along with the free compost that is available for pick up in the Transfer Station for service area residents. Public tours are provided both in-person and virtually to the public on the first Thursday of each month! 

Tour participants range from school groups to businesses and the public. One public tour participant and journalist, Greg Wilson, wrote in the San Mateo Daily Journal, “Prior to the tour, I thought I was clear about what can and cannot be recycled. However, I learned a lot about some edge cases. For instance, RethinkWaste really only wants “grocery store” glass: bottles and jars. All in all, it was a great tour; I highly recommend it.” 

By offering hands-on experiences, tours educate, engage, and inspire individuals to take an active role in waste reduction. As we navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing environment, fostering a culture of sustainability through immersive experiences becomes crucial. Sign up for a tour today and continue to discover the transformative power of recycling and composting firsthand! 

Trash talk | Columnists | smdailyjournal.com