HACkschool: Recycling Center

Adventures through which we can learn about integral things in our world through experience are something I am always seeking.

When I sent out the first wave of HACkschool invites, the recycling center is the adventure that got the most bites. Seeing first hand how we take all that trash from our homes and turn in into something new – what’s not to love?

Urban Corps San Diego was the local recycling center who offered an educational tour so that is where we went. Turns out, it’s not exactly a recycling center. It’s a program that helps inner city adolescents and young adults get a high school diploma and job training (Still good community service, though I wonder how much they are paid for their labor. Hopefully I am not supporting unfair labor practices with this tour.) They are more of a middle man than a site that actually does the recycling, which was the big bummer.

They gave a long tour of the educational wing of their facility where people attend classes and detailed the history of their organization, which was interesting to the adults but definitely did not hold the attention of the children. Then we toured the rooftop garden, which was neat. After that we made it to what was the kids’ favorite part: the room where they sort the trash they collect by type to be shipped out to the actual recycling plants. This was the favorite because they let the kids toss full soda cans into a big crusher.


Then we went out to the parking lot and they had the kids line up and do push ups. I honestly don’t remember why but the kids didn’t object so neither did we. Later we went into a classroom and they proceeded to lecture with oral quiz on the facts they were supposed to have apparently memorized during the tour. This was the worst part. It went on … and on … The younger ones were mostly playing tag around a white board in the back. When booking the tour they said there would be some sort of craft they would make out of recyclables but that never happened. During that lecture would have been a good time for it. Then they could have been synthesizing the summary while putting the concept of recycling to action with their hands.

All in all, I would love to find a true recycling center that would be willing to give us a tour. The search continues.

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