Today I would like to tell you about the rest of my tour of the Materials and Recovery Facility (the recycling plant) and the City of Calgary landfill. If you missed my first post on this super informative tour, be sure to check it out here.
So, as I left off before, the MRF tour was one part inspiring and one part overwhelming for me. There was a lot of information to take in, and although I was so proud of my fellow city-folk for all the recycling we are doing, I was also a bit disheartened by the amount of work yet to be done…
Then, we drove to the landfill.
Wow. THIS was an eye-opener. Click the link below to see my first reaction…
I actually could not believe what I was seeing. Let me start by saying, I have never actually seen a dump up close and personal like this. So, naturally, I was a bit shocked. But what really stunned me was learning that the garbage we saw, all piled up, was only the garbage FROM TODAY!!! And, upon further reflection – as this is only ONE of THREE city dumps, it is only 1/3 of the city’s garbage from ONE day. And then I realized, the garbage trucks don’t pick up the entire city’s garbage in one day. So it’s actually 1/3 of the city’s garbage that was actually collected TODAY.
Dear God, I think I may need to sit down.
Our amazing “tour guides” (geez… I think I need to find some more relaxing tours!!!) explained that each day the garbage is dumped and then trucks with enormous, spiked wheels drive over and over the garbage in an effort to rip open all the bags and break apart all the garbage. This assists in squashing all the garbage down as much as possible, in order to make more room for more garbage the next day. This is extremely important as the “pile” of garbage can only grow to be so tall before a new “cell” (or area) has to be started. Each cell only lasts around 3 years before it is full and each cell costs approximately 3 million dollars to build and maintain. That’s a lot of money for a very short period of time. However, the bigger problem is that by crushing all this garbage, there is no air left and the huge amount of food scraps, paired with no air, creates copious amounts of methane gas. Methane gas is an extremely harmful greenhouse gas and having such high levels of it in landfills, is a major problem.
The landfill was very stinky (obviously), very disgusting (clearly) and frankly, just downright sad.
But then, we went to the other side… This is too perfect of a fit, so I will have to add the next part into my “Did You Know?” segment…
DID YOU KNOW???
Did you know that each of the 3 Calgary Landfills offer RECYLING too? You can drop off TIRES, WOOD PALLETS, DRYWALL, HAZARDOUS MATERIALS/CHEMICALS, APPLIANCES (any type) and ALL ELECTRONICS (literally anything that you can plug in, except vacuums), all to be recycled?
I had not known that.
This part of the tour made me feel a bit better. I really got the impression that there is substantial effort going on in our City to do the right thing. In addition, we were able to have a look at the compost piles too. This is all the material collected from the leaf and pumpkin recycling as well as the Christmas Tree recycling programs. All this material is mulched and laid in long piles to breakdown. When ready, this is all used back in the city on city parks and other natural areas.
Sigh….that feels better.
And, to end today, I’ll let you know my two positive acts for the environment…
We walked to the grocery store instead of driving! I love this as a new grocery store was finally built in my neighborhood! I love being able to walk there now… much more fun than bundling my kids into the car!
- We have officially changed from paper to cloth napkins. Now, I know many of you do this already, but I have always been a bit reluctant; mainly due to the fact that I have a 3 and a 6 year old. But, we are doing it anyways! I’ll let you know how it goes!