APES students visit recycling plant

November 18, 2010 — by Vivian LeTran

Senior Walter Hsiang stood on the narrow railway, looking down at the multitude of machines sorting the mixed, everyday trash, into plastic, aluminum and other categories.

On Nov. 10, AP Environmental Science students Hsiang and junior Mac Hyde, joined APES teacher Kristen Thomson, four students from the Environmental Science class at Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos teacher Amelia DeLaPaz and district superintendent Cary Matsuoka for a field trip to Green Waste Recycling Center in order to see how recycling works in San Jose.

“We got to see how they start from all the trash you throw out and how they sort it. They have to peel out plastic bags and peel out any cardboard,” said Hsiang. “They have this air machine that [separates the trash] and also this reverse pulverization machines which flings aluminum cans to the back of the compartment.”

Proposed by Matsuoka, the field trip offered a great educational opportunity for students, but only a small group went to test if this field trip was practical for the whole class, said Thomson.

“It was really fun and I’d like to go again and take other people, but it’s really meant for smaller groups,” said Hsiang. “The railways are small and people could easily fall into the machines or get hurt.”

Since the field trip proved impractical for a large group, Thomson plans to create a PowerPoint of pictures from the tour so all students have a chance to see the center.

“I [was] kind of excited because I’ve never actually been to a recycling plant before, so I brought a camera,” said Thomson. “Since it isn’t feasible to bring about 100 kids, I’ll probably create a PowerPoint from the all pictures to show the rest of the class.”

Other field trips that the APES class will attend this year include the trip to Año Nuevo in San Mateo County, where students get to hike on sand dunes and see elephant seals, an endangered species that at one point that was once thought to be extinct. Also, students may get the chance to visit the Academy of Science in San Francisco after AP testing if there is time, said Thomson.

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