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Waste Watchers

CRRA Trash Museum An Eye-Opening Experience For Youngsters, Adults


December 26, 2009

Sitting inside the Temple of Trash, a group of third-graders from Frisbie School in Wolcott were asked to find an old record player hidden among the thousands of thrown-away items that make up the exhibit. They had a hard time finding it. Most of the 8-year-olds had no idea what a record player was.

Visiting the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority's Trash Museum on Murphy Road in Hartford, which houses the Temple, can be a nostalgic experience, remembering when vinyl records were played on phonographs and all our trash was collected and plowed into a giant hole at the town dump. Recycling was not in the daily vocabulary back then.

When CRRA opened its first recycling plant in Hartford in 1993, officials realized that the key to selling the concept was in education, and the Trash Museum was born.

Situated at the CRRA plant, the museum is free and open to the public. Visitors follow the plight of our trash, from the disposal problems to how consumers can reduce waste. Climbing the stairs to the mezzanine level reveals one of the highlights of the tour, a bird's-eye view of the CRRA single-stream recycling operation, where newspapers, plastic, cardboard and cans are separated, crushed and baled. Watching the big trucks and payloaders is a "nose to the window" experience, according to Paul Nonnenmacher, CRRA director of public affairs, and fascinates children of all ages. Although the museum is fully booked for school groups through the end of the school year, it is open for self-guided tours Wednesday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. Staffers are on hand to explain exhibits and answer questions.

Helene Leder, a third-grade teacher at Frisbie School, remembers coming to the museum when she was a student. She now brings her own classes every year. "It's an amazing place," she said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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