Vancouver Waste to Energy Facility


There were a lot of interesting and complex things in the Waste to Energy facility but the thing that really stood out to me was the trash bunker.  The main reason why the trash bunker stood out to me was because there was a lot of stuff in the trans bunker that could have been recycled or reused.  For example, there were plenty of cereal boxes that could have been recycled and there was a vast amount of wood planks that could have been reused.  The other reason why the trash bunker stood out to me was the sheer amount of garbage in it.  The tour guides said it could hold up to four hundred tonnes of garbage.

Today I saw the claw.  When I was in the bunker at the Waste to Energy facility I got to see all the garbage.  What was really kind of scary was that there were so many things that could have been composted or recycled.  Like food waste, plastics or glass.  Here are some of the things that I saw.  There were tonnes of garbage bags, food scraps, mattresses and cereal boxes.  I really do hope that this place will help to save our planet and that more people will compost and recycle.


The most powerful experience for me was seeing all the trash.  It was unbelievable how much trash there was in the bunker.  It looked like the bunker would never be empty.  The trash kept coming.  It made me think about how much trash we make as a city and this is only 20% of the 100% of the trash we make.  I wonder what the landfill looks like where the other 80% goes to.

Today I really enjoyed the field trip.  The thing that caught my eyes the most was the crane.  I thought that the crane was really interesting because the crane would pick up hundreds of garbage.  But some of the garbage can be reused, like wood and more and those people would throw reuseable stuff that probably a lot of people need.  But I thought it was really enjoyable to watch.


The most powerful moment for me was the claw in the trash bunker room.  I think that it was cool because they let us actually go into the controller room so that we were really close to the claw and all of the garbage.  It was a bit sad because there was a whole bunch of stuff in there that should have been composted or recycled.  Also because when we were in the controller room there was a truck actually delivering garbage which was cool to see.

I found that when I looked into the giant tub of garbage I started to notice things in the garbage, things that shouldn’t be there.  And I am not talking about monsters, I am talking about stuff that still could be used, stuff like wood planks and maybe some old shoes, perhaps even a bike wheel or two.  Why did people throw this stuff, I wondered, then I realized that those people probably didn’t know that most of the people in this world could use this stuff to survive and be happy.  That is what I saw in the garbage tub, lost hopes and dreams of a bike, comfy shoes or planks of wood to sleep and live on.


I really enjoyed this field trip tot he Waste to Energy plant in Burnaby.  I enjoyed this because our Itadakimasu project or Theme project focused on electronic recycling and a little on garbage.  On this field trip, I really got a feel for where our garbage goes when we are done with it and when we dump it into our garbage cans or bins.  I have never been to a Waste to Energy plant or a waste management plant before, today was the first time.  I have to say, that was an interesting field trip. It told me a lot about what happens to our garbage, the people who sort it, recycle, monitor, dump, transfer in trucks, etc.  It is very unique.  It just tells me we should really care more and try to recycle more and dispose and throw away less, which means we should reduce on wrappers, boxes, throwing away perfectly fine stuff to save our environment “for the future”.

I thought that the trash bunker was a very powerful part of the field trip because it showed us how much waste we make.  It was very surprising because there were lots of things that didn’t have to be put in the garbage and could have been put in the recycling or been reused instead.  I thought that the job of working the claw would have been kind of boring but the guy who worked there seemed like he enjoyed what he was doing.  I think that the whole field trip was a very powerful experience because we got to see first-hand what putting things in the garbage does to the environment.

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The trip to the Waste to Energy facility was very surprising and overwhelming for me because I learned and experienced how much trash we really produce.  I thought that when I saw all the “garbage” in the huge room I found so many things that could be composted, recycled or re-used.  We carelessly throw away recyclable materials not thinking about the consequences for us and our Earth.  I think that some people are not educated enough about recycling and do not want to put a bit of effort into recycling their cardboard and waste.  If we all make an effort we can clean up the landfill we have created.

I found climbing into the control room very powerful because I got to see the amazing process waste goes through once it reaches the facility.  I was also wondering whether garbage that goes into the facility comes out in the best way for the environment.


The part of the tour that really affected me was when we saw the claw scooping up what can only be described as a mountain of garbage.  It really made me feel sad because I was basically looking at every irresponsible consumer ever.  It was sickening.  There were ropes of garbage coming down from Mt. Everest, seriously I actually thought that they were ropes.  I know the people who don’t recycle or compost don’t know the damage they’re causing but it’s still horrible.

Today when I visited the Waste to Energy facility I was interested in all the parts of the building. But the most powerful part of the tour to me was the part where I got to sit in the claw cockpit and watch the driver operate it.  I liked this experience a lot because I really got to see all the garbage and notice things like pieces of wood or cardboard that I thought “hey, I could recycle that!” The experience of being in the cockpit also made me think of how a lot more people could still work on recycling all of the stuff possible.  So overall, I now know that burning garbage makes energy instead of lots of carbon.


The trip to the Waste to Energy facility was very important and emotional for me.  I think our trip was very eye-opening and really showed me how much waste we put in our garbage cans that could be recycled.  The most powerful experience was when we stepped outside and saw the wind turbine-like-thing that created the energy.  We create so much garbage and pollution that it was good to see what good can come of the garbage being incinerated.  It really was a powerful experience to see where 20% of the Lower Mainland’s garbage is transported to and how they create energy from it.

Going to the Waste to Energy facility in Burnaby really helped me to see a lot more.  I never knew that garbage could be used as energy.  My favourite experience was the claw.  It showed me a lot, not only in how it works but the garbage and how much there is.  I saw wood, plastic and a whole lot more that could be recycled and I felt kind of angry that people would just throw away reusable items.  It also made me kind of sad there was so much trash as well.  But I was happy it was being turned into clean energy for the world I live in.  I really enjoyed the experience and I learned a lot from it too.


I was very curious what the atmosphere was going to be like at the Waste to Energy facility and it both excited and disappointed me.  When we first started learning about the factory workers in China I always figured it was way different here.  When we got there it seemed pretty clean at first but then I saw all these pipes and wired puffing out gas and smoke and wondered how safe it really was.  I found myself tired and a bit dizzy after going through the facility and I wonder how it would affect a long time worker.

My powerful experience was only realized after the tour.  The claw was a big part of the tour for me.  It was really cool.  But something else that interested me was the trucks bringing the garbage and I couldn’t figure out why.  They’re just trucks, right?  But now I know that what made the trucks so interesting to me was the feeling the trucks gave of everything being all connected together.  They made me feel it was all part of one bigger machine and we were just walking around it, the insides and specific bits hidden from sight.  That might be why I liked the claw so much, it was a glimpse deeper into a form of technology so complicated but interesting.  That was my most powerful experience.


Today we went to the Waste to Energy facility.  I came out of the facility in shock.  I was surprised by almost everything.  When we went into the facility I was hit with an immediate smell and as we walked on I started thinking about the people that work there.  They worked in horrible conditions.  I was also surprised by the amount of garbage that they took in.  they had a giant room where the garbage trucks would go to and dump the garbage into.  I learned a lot about this subject and really enjoyed it.

The most powerful experience to me from going to the waste to energy facility was seeing the control room.  It would have never known without seeing it that so much technology is put into making energy.  I mean I would have guessed that at least some tech would be put into it but not this much tech.  There were dozens of computers in that one room controlling everything!  There were video cameras everywhere so you couldn’t go anywhere without being seen.  I also didn’t know how much energy was put into this either.  They must use up almost as much energy as they make!  I mean there’s giant mechanical claws, cooldown chambers and computers everywhere!


3.3 tonnes of trash are lifted into a giant claw and put into a chute leading to an incinerator, somehow this process is “green”.  The Waste to Energy facility was a powerful field trip but for me, one moment stands alone.  Watching the claw rise up out of the garbage dumped by trucks into a giant bunker, some of which had been there for decades.  Walls of garbage are a powerful sight but the experience was made slightly lighter by the fact that it would shortly be energy for 16,000 homes around Metro Vancouver.  This system is not perfect but it seems like a good option for the time being.  The sobering sight has left us all with questions and the most popular would be “how…?”

The tour really affected everyone’s lives of know what really happens to our “garbage”.  The Waste to Energy was a place where you would want to go, this place is a recyclable place where you can put your garbage.  The incinerator to me was the most important part to this place.  The incinerator was to burn the garbage to make ashes to throw away and nothing is really left.


One comment

  1. Moe Pazurik

    We are sorry O***** missed the field trip but we have been to the transfer station near Main and seen all the items that end up in landfill instead of being repurposed or recycled. In Sechelt ( on the Sunshine Coast ) they had an area for leaving items that others could use instead of becoming garbage . They had a huge space there and were able to offer this service for free and it was maintained by the staff . I know its not always possible or allowed by the city .

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