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The Magic of Waste To Energy!

Ages: 6 and up

Duration: 45 minutes (adaptable to grade- appropriate length)

Via an interactive presentation, students “tour” the York County Resource Recovery Center. They will learn about the technology that not only reduces their garbage to a small volume of ash, but also recycles it into electricity. This presentation covers the following topics: Where garbage comes from; How much is generated; How recycling impacts the waste stream; Types of waste generated; The importance of environmental controls and regulations; How a waste-to-energy facility uses garbage as a fuel to generate electricity; What happens to the ash leftover from processing their garbage. All necessary materials are provided by the YCSWA.

Requirements: Access to an electrical outlet

Evaluation Tool:
Students will be able to describe the basics of how a waste-to-energy facility works, understand the environmental benefits of using waste-to-energy to manage garbage, and identify how we manage waste in York County (waste reduction, reuse, recycling, waste-to-energy).


  1. Schedule an actual tour of the York County Resource Recovery Center (Call 717-845-1066 or click here to schedule a visit).
  2. Conduct a school (or grade level) survey. Ask students where they think their garbage goes after it is taken away in a trash truck. (landfill?, waste-to-energy plant?, recycle center?). Create a bulletin board displayed at your school that posts the results and highlights the correct answer (the York County Resource Recovery Center).
  3. Create a flyer advertising what a waste-to-energy facility is featuring the benefits to the community.

How to Get this Lesson Plan Into Your Classroom
This lesson is available at no cost to any York County school or civic group and is presented by a member of the Authority’s Education Center staff. All materials and handouts associated with this lesson plan are provided by the Authority. Call 717-845-1066 or click here to schedule a presentation of this lesson plan for your class or assembly program.