We recently visited IESI in McKinney to learn about recycling.
They opened their facilities to the public and hosted a free educational event called "Recycling Is Fun Day".
There was an electric train that carried us from the parking lot to the facility.
The kids loved it!
The train dropped us off at the back of the property where all the recycling action takes place. There was a long row of booths set up from businesses and organizations in the community to help us learn more about reducing, reusing, and recycling to protect and conserve our environment.
We started at the first booth where the kids were given little passports that they could get stamped at each booth they visited. At the end, they could turn in their passports for a prize!
There was a great exhibit by the Texas Agri-Life Extension that demonstrated how important ground cover is to prevent run-off of water and soil. There was a tray of concrete, bare soil, mulched soil with plants, and lawn grass. There were spouts at the bottom that dripped run-off into other containers underneath so we could study the amount of water and soil that was running off. It was a great way to show how a healthy yard and properly prepared flower beds can better use and retain water and soil.
We took a peek inside the recycling facility.
My kids loved watching all of the newly delivered recycling material getting pushed around and scooped up.
IESI has a new, $1 million optical sorter, which is used to scan plastic to determine the kind of plastic and in which category of plastics it is to be placed. Other conveyer belts separated cardboard, paper, glass and aluminum into their own sections as well.
I was amazed at the mass amounts of paper and junk mail that just kept piling out of the sorter.
We talked about this diagram which shows a simplified explanation of what happens to trash and recyclable materials once it leaves your home.
We headed back outside to visit more booths. We learned a lot about conserving water.
We saw an exhibit which clearly showed how much healthier plant roots are when they receive deep, infrequent watering vs. frequent shallow watering.
We played bowling with re-used 2 liter bottles.
The kids loved this following activity and kept going back to it over and over again.
There were buckets of water with fish and pieces of trash. They had to use the grabber tools to pull the trash out of the "lake" in order to save the fish. Super cute idea and a great way to demonstrate the importance of putting litter in its proper place.
Rachel made a caterpillar craft out of an egg carton.
Nicholas made a cyclops creature from another planet.
The McKinney Fire Department was there to teach us about fire safety and handed out some cool things for the kids.
We loved looking at all of the different bundles of recycled materials out front.
This bundle is just plastic water bottles.
Here is a bundle of cans.
We had a great time visiting the facility and all of the booths. The kids returned their passports and were given these cool re-usable drink bottles filled with cold lemonade.