By Shelli-Kae Foster
On November 24, 2021, 16 YES! Students toured Pope Douglas Solid Waste (PDSW) in Alexandria, MN. They were joined by YES! Coach Marlene Schoeneck and YES! Program Director Shelli-Kae Foster. The tour was led by Nathan Reinbold, PDSW Environmental Coordinator. Nathan kicked off the tour by informing the students that over 200 tons of garbage is hauled to their facility each day!
He further explained that after the garbage is dumped off, it is sorted and then burned. The facility has a pit that is 20 feet deep where the industrial wastes and other sorted wastes are mixed together.
A grapple picks up the waste and loads it into the incinerator where it is burned at 1,800 F. The incineration process generates 76,000 pounds of steam at 170 pounds of pressure. This steam is used to heat the local hospital (Alomere Health) and 3M plant.
It became evident that when you throw something away, it is just the beginning of its journey. It might become energy or simply be dumped in a landfill and stuck there for decades to come. The students left with a new appreciation of the importance of reducing waste. To conclude the tour Nathan offered his advice by stating, “don’t buy things you don’t need or want.”
Let’s all do our part to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!