Trash Documentary

Inline image 2
Proposal to the School and Wider Community


The Wayland Schools Green Team is asking for interest in investigating and documenting the story of our town’s trash. We are particularly seeking the help of Middle School and High School students and their teachers, science and environmental courses and clubs, the debating club, WSPN, WayCam, and those interested in the visual arts and publicity. The resulting video, report and presentation could influence the policies of our town as well as our community’s culture. 


The Green Team has been promoting recycling in our schools as part of a broad education of Earth stewardship. We have put in recycling systems, on-site composting of organic lunchroom “waste” and helped establish and maintain school gardens. Residents recycle through the municipal Transfer Station and private companies, and the DPW employees at the Transfer Station and at Lakeview Cemetery have been composting yard waste. It would be easy to stop here, but if we are to be good stewards of the earth and of the future, we must look further.

Let us ask: How are the trash and recycling in our town collected, and by whom? Does all of it end up in the “official” waste stream? What happens to it when it does? Do the recyclables we so proudly separate, really get re-used, or do they end up in landfills or incinerators? Do they end up as pollutants in our air, water or soil? Where, really, is “away” when we throw them away?

Let us also put these questions into their historical context. How have Wayland residents and town officials dealt with residents’ refuse through the years, from colonial Sudbury to the present? 


We plan to create two products:

1. A video documentary by students that could include interviews of key players and specialists, field reports of tours of our Transfer Station, our Landfill, the recycling plant that takes our plastics, cans and glass, and the incinerator that burns our trash. It could involve a trip down memory lane, to pig farms and old landfills. The video could include fun, clarifying animations.
2. A written report or PowerPoint presentation with all the facts and figures about our trash: where it goes, how much there is of it, and what happens to it.

We hope to unveil these at a large community event with policy makers, the local media and the community present. 


Green Team members will encourage students and other residents to help with:

1. Researching trash and recycling
2. Generating film footage and animations
3. Interviews
4. Editing film footage
5. Creating a PowerPoint or other kind of presentation of the research results 

The Green Team will coordinate these efforts and give support by helping with the research, arranging tours of facilities and interviews with  town officials and experts, publicizing and putting together the unveiling event.

Please contact for more information or to show your interest and share your ideas and comments. This project is not possible without the support and active participation of our students, teachers, school administrators, and residents.