Environmental Education Programs

To foster greater understanding of the management of waste in York County, The York County Solid Waste Authority offers environmental education programs on a wide variety of topics.  Presenters are available to visit you at your site and all programs are customized for age-appropriate content and length.  Programs are provided at no cost to York County residents, schools and civic groups.   To schedule a presentation for your group, please call 717-845-1066 or contact us here a minimum of two weeks in advance.

Environmental Education Programs Available:

The Magic of Waste-To-Energy!
Via an interactive presentation, participants “tour” the York County Resource Recovery Center, the first waste-to-energy facility in Pennsylvania to use advanced air pollution control technology.  Participants learn about the technology that works like “magic” to not only reduce their garbage to a smaller volume of ash, but also recycle it into electricity.  The program also details how much York County waste is generated, the importance of environmental controls and regulations and what happens to the ash left over from processing their garbage.  Ages six and up.

The Incredible, Edible Landfill!
In this hands-on activity, participants are appointed “honorary landfill engineers” for the day to build their own landfills out of a mixture of candy and healthy ingredients.  As they construct, participants learn the function of each layer and how it helps to protect the environment as garbage decomposes.  This program also details how science and technology influence where landfills are built, what types of waste can be managed in a landfill and how landfills are regulated.  Since participants use edible ingredients, once the landfills pass a final inspection, they get to eat their work!  All ingredients provided by the Authority.  Ages four and up.

Recycled Paper Revelations!
What does an insect have to do with the evolution of paper?  How many trees does it take to make a ton of paper?  How can recycled paper be used in the construction of a home?  These and many other revelations are revealed in this interactive program.  Participants will investigate the history of paper, find out how paper is made and explore the environmental benefits of recycling paper.  For a culminating activity, participants will actually recycle scrap paper into a new piece of paper to take home.  All materials provided by the Authority.  Ages four and up.

Vermicomposting: Worms with an Appetite (for Waste)!
It’s a sad fact that an estimated 40% of food in the United States is wasted.  Much of that food smelling up our kitchen trash cans and weighing down our trash trucks, could be put to good use through composting.  Luckily, we happen to know of some “red wigglers” that would love to take it off our hands and out of our trash!  These special earth worms have quite an appetite for food scraps, and turn what they devour into valuable vermicompost (worm compost), which is much more nutrient rich than even traditional compost.  Participants in this program learn all about these amazing critters and try their own hands at vermicomposting either by making individual take-home composting cups, or working together to create a single composting bin the group can keep for several months.  Either option includes hundreds of live, wiggling worms!  All materials provided by the Authority.  Ages four and up.

Household Hazardous Products: Is “Mr. Yuk” Living in Your House?
Ever since “Mr. Yuk” was introduced by the Pittsburgh Poison Center in 1971, folks have been sticking his “yucky” green face on the containers of household hazardous products everywhere.  In this program, participants learn about common household products and how misuse of these products can hurt people and the environment.  A fun, interactive game helps them learn to identify household hazardous products.  They also get to take home literature to share with parents and “Mr. Yuk” stickers and magnets of their own.  Ages four and up.

Composting: Get “the Dirt” on Humus!
Did you know that up to 30 percent of your solid waste stream could consist of leaf and yard waste?  It is also a sad fact that an estimated 40% of food in the United States is wasted!  Composting not only takes yard and food waste out of the garbage, but also produces valuable humus, a dark, rich and crumbly substance that is an excellent soil conditioner.  Participants in this program learn how to turn their yard and food waste into compost in their own backyards in just a few simple steps.   Ages six and up.

Recycling “Rules”! 
Recycling is a constantly evolving industry who’s rules can seem ever-changing.  Many people can find it hard to keep up with what materials can be recycled, how to prepare recyclable materials for processing and what to leave out of their bin.  This program will answer those questions and more with the latest information from York County recycling companies.  Participants will also be introduced to Act 101, the state’s Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act and how it affects York County recycling.  Ages ten and up.

“Green Consumerism”: How your Shopping Habits Impact the Environment
All products have an environmental impact, however small.  The idea behind “green consumerism” is to reduce that impact to a minimum.  Participants in this program examine consumer shopping habits to understand how product packaging and lifestyle influence their product selections, and how their selections directly impact the environment.  Ages ten and up.

What in the World is a Solid Waste Authority?
Who manages the waste I produce?  Where does all my garbage go?  This introduction to the York County Solid Waste Authority will answer these and many other questions.   Topics covered include public administration, waste-to-energy, recycling, composting and landfilling.  Ages ten and up.