If you’ve never been to Newby Island Landfill in Milpitas (near San Jose, California) you would be up for a treat if you visited. It would totally blow all of your concepts on how our trash is managed. During an annual Earth Day event, organized by Allied Waste, one can go on a romantic date with one’s trash in a comfy limo bus.
State of the art landfills like Newby Island are quite effective at managing food scraps for compost materials, yard waste for mulch, concrete for paving the roads at the facility and many other great things. Perhaps you would be most impressed to learn how the methane from rotting organic matter is captured and then used for electricity production that helps power some of the surrounding homes in the area.
The thing that hit me during that trip is that no matter how well our waste is managed it takes tremendous amount of energy and resources to further sort, downcycle and burry our trash. Furthermore, when I asked whether they truly “recycle” plastic bags, the lowered tone response was not a very clear one – “Yes, but into lower grade plastic bags that are further shipped to China.” You be the judge whether this makes any sense to you or sounds anything close to the truth.
Frankly, you can’t blame the guys if these plastic bags simply go up in fumes. Recycling plastic bags is a total financial disaster; it’s nothing but a big headache and a huge expense. It’s really up to us to use more bio-degradable trash bags and cloth or at least paper bags at the grocery stores.
Enjoy the short video of the tour that started with a wonderful lunch and a few speeches. (Make sure to click off on the Google ad so that it’s not in your way of viewing.)