Urban Impact - Recycling Education School Tours

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We are excited to share an email that was shared by Whole Food’s Regional Green Mission Specialist Dena Hastings with her team and Urban Impact about the success of a recent Green Mission’s team building exercise.

“I wanted to share the story of Green Mission’s first metro team build which happened in BC yesterday!  We had over 30 Green Mission team members from all four of the stores join together for a day of education and volunteering.

Thanks to Mark at Urban Impact for being a good host.  On May 8, we met at the Cambie store and hopped on a big green school bus (fitting, eh?) and headed out to Urban Impact’s new MRF (materials recovery facility) to learn about where all of materials we take the time to recycle as a community and store go.  The facility itself is very impressive, it is a state of the art with different sorting processes for plastics, paper, metal and glass.  After that fascinating tour and lively Q & A session, we hopped back on the bus to make our way to The Sharing Farm, which is an organization that grows food for their local Food Bank and other charitable agencies.  We came to help out at this amazing farm by pulling weeds, hauling leaf much, and preparing beds to be planted.  Everyone had a great time, even though our time there was way too short, it was very impactful.  The entire day was amazing, fun, educational and a great bonding experience for all of the Green Mission team members!

Dena Hastings, Regional Green Mission Specialist, Whole Foods Market

We love the feedback that we received from Richmond School District about our School Tours!

“Thanks to Nicole and Cindy for arranging the Urban Impact Tour for the Richmond School District’s Waste Management School Green Team visits.  The students and teachers really enjoyed learning about the recycling process.  In fact, they were talking about the trucking, receiving, sorting, baling and shipping on the bus ride home! The tour was a great opportunity for the participants to see what happens to the paper after it leaves the school.  It gave the students and teachers a better understanding of the paper process.  The Green Teams are energized to create waste reduction action plans for their own schools.  Thank you for making the learning about the recycling process so fun and accessible!  We really appreciate your time and effort!”

Rosalind Poon, Teacher Consultant, School District #38 (Richmond)

Eight Richmond students could NOT move a 1 metric tonne of paper!

“I would highly recommend Urban Impact’s School Tour for any school classes or green teams that are interested in waste reduction (ie. composting, recycling, etc.) and sustainability of ecosystems. It is informative tour that gives students a different perspective about what happens to their “waste” once it enters the waste stream.”

Rosalind Poon, Teacher Consultant School District #38 (Richmond)

Recycling Education for the Next Generation: A Discussion with Metro Vancouver, Zero Waste Challenge Conference (March 10, 2011)

Urban Impact CEO and President Nicole Stefenelli gave a presentation, called “Recycling Education for the Next Generation” at the sold-out Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Challenge conference. Watch the video.

April 23rd
CKNW’s Renowned Sean Leslie interviews Nicole Stefenelli on The World Today Weekend, for her thoughts on all things Earth Week 2011.

As part of Urban Impact’s commitment to Waste Reduction Week, we conduct a series of Recycling School Tours. Our school tours (October and April) are targeted for Grade Four and Five classes.

In October, 2010, students from Beach Grove, Woodward, McCloskey, Port Guichon, Debeck and Hamilton Elementary Schools took part in our program and competed in our Waste Not, Want Not Challenge! Each school class competes for the best answers to questions about how to reduce their impact with the best waste reduction ideas. The class that had the best answers, according to Urban Impact President Nicole Stefenelli, won $500!

The winner of our Fall 2010 Waste Not, Want Not Challenge was Delta’s McCloskey Elementary.  For 2011, Urban Impact expanded the Waste Not, Want Not contest and created an art contest.


For our Spring 2011 contest, we invited Grade 4/5 students to use their artistic talents to think big and design recycling art for millions to see.

This up and coming green generation can start incorporating more responsible practices into their daily routines that will foster a lifetime of good earth stewardship. Students were invited to submit an original artwork piece that illustrates the phrase, “Waste Not, Want Not.”

Their artwork was to depict the FIVE THINGS that students can do to recycle at home and outside the home, go green and reduce their environmental impact.

Urban Impact’s judging panel selected the winning artwork from a grade 4/5 class from the Vancouver Lower Mainland.

School Tour Feedback is Very Positive from Students and Teachers

Fall 2010 Feedback

We received a thank you from Einer Tang, a teacher at McCloskey Elementary:

“My class and I wanted to thank you so much for helping to arrange this morning’s wonderful tour of the Knox plant. Seeing the process up close and hearing the 5 step process helped to make a big impact on the children. Nicole Stefenelli was an excellent guide and explained, answered and challenged the children to be effectors for change. This was a great message! The children are preparing a proper thank-you note, but in the meantime, thank you for providing such great connection between learning about caring for the environment in the classroom and the community.


Einer Teng, McCloskey Elementary

Here is how McCloskey’s students described the Recycling Education Tour:

“Urban Impact President Nicole Stefanelli invited us to come visit her paper recycling centre in Richmond. She took us on an informative tour of the entire facility. We saw first hand the 5 stages of the operation. First, paper is COLLECTED from various businesses and schools from the Lower Mainland. Second, it is RECEIVED by type. Third, it is SORTED. Fourth, it is BALED into 1 tonne blocks. Lastly, it is SHIPPED either to the local manufacturing market or shipped overseas as far away as Brazil, Korea, India and China. Altogether, the students asked many questions, answered just as many and we’re greatly impressed by Urban Impact’s large-scale facility. Several students were even rewarded with baseball caps for asking fantastic questions.”

Grade 4/5 students, McCloskey Elementary

“Learning about recycling first hand really showed us where and what happens to our recycled paper products and I feel much more knowledgable on the subject.”

“I enjoyed that Nicole was engaging with us a lot and showed us the equipment and stuff. I found it interesting that there are hardly and employees and it’s all machinery. She gave everyone hats!”

“Nicole Stefenelli’s tour was very informative and organized. She engaged us to voice our questions and I learned so much about the first hand recycling process.”

“The Urban Impact tour was interesting because we got to interact with the facility. An example is that we got to go in the container and push the paper bundles.”

Spring 2011 Feedback


After our Spring School Tours, we received some really nice thank you notes from the Grade 4/5 students of Queen Alexandra School in Vancouver.   In their efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle, repair and reinvent, the students opted to send us letters on pre-used paper. Here are some highlights:

“Because of you, the paper that British Columbia creates is being recycled. Now I know how to put paper into bales.  From now on I will think twice before throwing paper into the garbage.”

“Thank you for teaching us all about recycling.  It was fun when we got to push the bale.  I thought it was easy to push because it was all paper.   I never knew that it was that heavy!

“From now on I will try to tell my family how to recycle.   I will use the advice to teach my family.  I will draw pictures to show my family what to put in the recycling bin.  Thanks for the advice.”

“Because of you, the tour was more fun.  Now I know the five steps of making bales.  From now on, I will take some time looking for ways to help the earth.  Before the field trip, I didn’t know bales weighed up to 1000 kilograms!”

“Thank you so much for taking us on a tour at your facilities. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot, but I was a little disgusted by all the waste.  We NEED TO KEEP OUR EARTH CLEAN.”

Urban Impact School Tours Program in the News
South Delta Leader Reporter Kristine Salzmann was on hand earlier this week to take part in one of the tours. Read her report in The South Delta Leader [www.southdeltaleader.com]

If you know of a teach of a grade 4 or 5 class in the Lower Mainland that you think would be interested in having a tour, contact us at 604.273.0089 or schooltours@urbanimpact.com.