Over last several weekends My father-in-law and I have replaced the hot water heater in both of our homes and had two huge tanks to dispose of. FIL decided we needed to recycle them and might actually make some money in the process. It sounded like an adventure to me so I decided to take the boy and expand his horizons.
Now the boy has been with me to the city dump a few times to drop off some yard waste and tree clippings. (My wife thinks I have an unhealthy fascination with cutting down trees.) If you can swing it, a trip to the city dump is an eye opening experience for a kid. Possibly for the first time in their life they get a chance to see where the bags of trash go when they leave your curb.
The most fascinating part of the modern city dump is that everything is separated. If you have a truck load of tree branches they direct you to the back of the property where they are creating mulch for resale. If you have wood or metal they direct you to a recycling area where you have to sort your trash. And lastly if you have smelly household trash, they have you put it in a dumpster. It really helps spur a conversation about recycling and consumption in general.
Today's adventure was something new. We were not getting rid of trash. We had metal; and being the two cheapest men on the face of the earth, we thought-- why give it away when we can get paid for it? Google to the rescue! My father-in-law searched and found a recycling center nearby. We loaded up the truck and headed to Fort worth, Texas. (about 10 minutes away)
We went to American Recycling in Fort Worth, Texas. This place was interesting and not the kind of place you would normally take the kids. No museum and no popcorn. This place was all business and busy. There was a constant flow of Semis and pick-up trucks dropping off scrap metal from who knows where. We were sort of stuck for a while waiting on a truck being filled with scrap to take to a recycling plant.
While waiting in line we got to watch one of these cranes load a semi with scrap metal. We assumed it was going to another plant for further processing to be reused and made into something new.
I felt like a total idiot the whole time we were there. The other people in line were there for serious business, and we were just lucky we didn't run into anything.
We ended up barely making enough to pay the gas for the trip. However, the experience was worth more than the cash. I got to spend time with my son and he got to hang out with his grandfather, and we all learned something about the recycling process.
Visiting the city dump or a recycling plant may or may not be your style, but you should find something to engage your kids and get them thinking. Kids love to discover how stuff gets to the grocery market or where it goes after it leaves the curb. Taking a drive to a recycling center is a ton more fun that listening to Dad talk about recycling.