Daley has dreamed of visiting a “dump” since we read a book about where garbage goes when he was two years old. He intensively studied the page with the pile of trash being crushed by a huge compactor.
His dream came true during a recent foggy and windy day when our family toured the landfill run by the City of Superior on Moccasin Mike Road. It is where most Twin Ports garbage goes.
Wow. It made us look at our family habits in a new way.
The friendly and knowledgeable environmental regulatory coordinator, Darienne, shared with us the history of the site, the logistics of the waste, the engineering of the landfill, and what items shouldn’t be thrown away.
And she answered every one of Daley’s 100 questions.
We even got to walk on the pile of trash. A mattress and a discarded teddy bear intrigued Daley, as did the enormous spike-wheeled compactor.
Finley was most intrigued by the stinky smell. We learned that the smell comes from the methane gas produced when the bacteria “eats” the garbage. She thought it was hilarious that the bacteria passes gas, or as she calls it, “toots,” thus, creating the smell. Potty humor is particularly fun at four years old.
We were all intrigued by the large cement camel that had been discarded and is now on display at the landfill entrance. Having lived in WI, we were familiar with cement deer lawn decorations, but a camel?
The dozen or so eagles scavenging intrigued Tim. As did the gray matter that is spread over the garbage to help with wind, odor, and scavenging control. It is a by-product from the local paper plant (you can see it in the pictures above).
I was most shocked by the plastic bags. They were everywhere. Blowing in the wind. Caught in the perimeter fence. Hanging from trees outside of the site.
Our kids know the mantra, “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.”
We are now talking about “Refuse.”
Since the tour, we are more aware of how much plastic exists in our everyday lives. For example, the kids left their recent dental appointment each with a small plastic bag (covered in advertisements) that held a new toothbrush (also in plastic packaging). We could have politely refused the bags. Now they must be recycled, which takes time, energy, and natural resources.
Want to know what to do with your plastic grocery, newspaper, produce, cereal and other bags? Check out this guide on local recycling locations.
Have you ever thought about your waste and its impact on the environment and community? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thanks!