Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling Program takes McKim Middle School students to Save-On Foods to learn about reducing food waste. Photo submitted.

Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling Program takes McKim Middle School students to Save-On Foods to learn about reducing food waste. Photo submitted.

Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling Program teaches Kimberley students about managing food waste

Wildsight is running an education program entitled Beyond Recycling to help Kimberley students learn more about their energy, waste and consumption.

This 24-week program, which first began back in 2006, has grown from just one program in one community to 20 programs in 13 communities.

Dubbed “Beyond Recycling” as it takes students far beyond the 3 Rs many learned at an early age into new depths of understanding where waste comes from, where it goes and how human beings can make changes to reduce their impact on the planet.

“The length of the program really allows us to build connections and deep understanding of waste, energy, water, climate and sustainability,” said Kimberley Beyond Recycling educator Kim Urbaniak.

Part of this year’s program took two grade 5/6 classes from McKim Middle school to Kimberley’s Save-On location, where they toured the store keeping in mind what they’d learned about reducing waste.

The tour included going behind the scenes to see the store’s new cake freezers and their -40 C cold storage, plus the loading bay and its “Wall-E” cardboard compacting machine used for recycling.

From there, the students headed to the Food Recovery Depot to learn about food is sorted for the Food Bank, the compost, farm animals and human re-distribution. The students got hands on experience helping to sort product and make bins for the Food Bank’s families.

Through this excursion the students learned about how big companies can divert food waste, the rules governing what food can be sold and when and the difference between expiry dates and best-before dates. They also learned about how Healthy Kimberley’s Food Recovery Depot diverts food from the landfill.

“Beyond Recycling is an in depth look at how the lives of Grade 5 and 6 students impact the planet,” Urbaniak said. “The hands-on, interactive lessons, activities, and field trips look at both the negative and positive impacts we can have.”

Overall the feedback from the students was positive, with some commenting on how much food waste truly exists in their community.