Tuesday, November 27, 2012


There was a briefing today in B2 (the big room where I work) from one of the waste management women, discussing how to handle just about any type of garbage.

The most important thing to remember on Antarctica is there's an international treaty which says we're supposed to leave no trace of our being here. That means we can't just have a big pile of garbage at the edge of the base. Everything gets flown back to McMurdo, where it's loaded onto a ship and taken back to California to be recycled, burned, buried, etc.

There are more than a dozen possible categories of recycling. For instance, crushable paper or wrappers go in "Paper Towels", corrugated cardboard goes in "Cardboard", non-corrugated cardboard (like cereal boxes) goes in "Mixed Paper". There are labels on all the bins with examples of what does and does not go in each. There are recycling areas spread all over the station so you're usually not more than 20 feet away from one.

There are waste lines outside for larger items. This is also where we bring the bags of stuff once the indoor bins are full. One thing they emphasize in multiple ways is "No loose styrofoam peanuts!". Once those things get loose outside they're almost as difficult to recapture as they are to see in an all-white environment!

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