A spoon full of garbage

The Covington News - - Opinion -

What would you do for a heap­ing help­ing of sweet, tasty — garbage?

Yeah that’s right I said garbage.

Not just any garbage though — garbage from an ed­i­ble land­fill.

Not Willy Wonka’s imag­i­nary land­fill but garbage from the New­ton County Re­cy­cling Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter.

Stu­dents from West New­ton El­e­men­tary lapped spoon­fuls of land­fill on Tues­day — some even asked for more.

Gra­ham crack­ers, Twiz­zlers, Lucky Charms and Fruit Roll- ups — what’s wrong with eat­ing that?

OK it’s not your typ­i­cal land­fill but so much more ed­i­ble.

Karen Key with Keep Cov­ing­ton/ New­ton Beau­ti­ful taught stu­dents from West New­ton about the con­struc­tion of land­fills by mak­ing minia­ture ed­i­ble land­fills.

Stu­dents were more re­cep­tive than if just given a nor­mal, ev­ery­day lec­ture on the process of build­ing a land­fill, and I’m sure, if asked, any­one of those stu­dents can re­cite for you what the dif­fer­ent lay­ers are and what pur­pose each serves.

I even learned a thing or two. I hon­estly thought trash just went into a big hole in the ground then was cov­ered up with more dirt. Maybe I’m show­ing my ig­no­rance, but I was im­pressed with the project — so you’re go­ing to have to en­dure a re­play of it right now.

Step one: a hole is dug and lined with a layer of clean soil — for the project a Dixie cup was the hole and crushed gra­ham crack­ers stand in for dirt.

Step two: a liner is placed on top of the clean soil to pro­tect the soil from pol­lu­tants. Fruit Roll- ups make a great ed­i­ble liner — the green ones are par­tic­u­larly trashy look­ing.

Step three: pipes are in­stalled to drain the liq­ue­fied garbage sludge into toxic waste con­tain­ment. Un­twiz­zled Twiz­zlers play the roll of the pipes and are dropped in on top of Fruit Roll- up.

Step four: an­other layer of soil cov­ers the pipes to pro­tect them from cor­ro­sion and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions — more gra­ham crack­ers.

Step five: garbage is fi­nally brought in to fill the re­main­der of the land­fill. Lucky Charms are the trash ( I guess any­thing could be used as trash — trail mix might be a health­ier al­ter­na­tive, but once you’ve eaten the other items in the land­fill why not go for the sug­ary break­fast ce­real).

The ed­i­ble land­fill ranks right up there with the kitty lit­ter cake — but that’s an­other col­umn and just com­pletely dis­gust­ing. At least the ed­i­ble land­fill is ed­u­ca­tional.

De­spite mak­ing my stom­ach roll, the ed­i­ble land­fill has found a per­ma­nent place in my brain and has made me a lit­tle more aware of what hap­pens to my garbage and what ef­fect my con­sump­tion has on the en­vi­ron­ment.

One of the stu­dents asked if there was enough room for all the trash — what a deep ques­tion. He prob­a­bly didn’t mean to ask a ques­tion that would spark my in­ter­nal de­bate but he did none­the­less.

Do we have enough room for all the trash?

Maybe we should all stop to ask our­selves that ques­tion.

If we con­tinue to con­sume more and more ( my­self in­cluded) with­out look­ing for so­lu­tions then we may all find our­selves served up a mouth full of garbage — and not the sweet sugar coated kind.

I haven’t al­ways been the most con­scious per­son when it comes to re­cy­cling, but with our cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal state and the out­look be­ing what it is we all need and should be at the height of con­scious­ness.

Take ad­van­tage of the ser­vices of­fered in New­ton County. We have 12 re­cy­cling cen­ters lo­cated across the county. None of them charge New­ton County cit­i­zens to drop off re­cy­clable goods ( plas­tics, scrap metal, pa­per…).

What else could we ask for?

Robby Byrd

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