Oh, man. You’re going to just have to use your imagination for this one. I was driving and then we were in a hurry to leave, so no picture-taking time. Just close your eyes and visualize myself and one other adult, six cub scouts, two extra ten year-olds, two five year-olds and a squawking two-year old on an official tour of the County Landfill. It was actually fascinating. In case any of my fellow Utahns didn’t know, the Salt Lake County Landfill has a great viewing area with a pond and a gazebo where you can see tons of wildlife and such. No, it doesn’t smell. At all. And the geese are nesting right now — did you know they mate for life?
Our tourguide was most inspiring. She grew up Navajo on a reservation in Arizona and is here in Utah doing graduate work so that she can go home and help her people clean up their lands. I guess dumping trash is a huge problem on the reservation, and neither the infrastructure nor the education is in place to prevent/solve it. Talk about using your life in a real way to make a difference. She knew the answer to absolutely every question about waste management, recycling, etc. She goes home at the end of this year to start her real life’s work.
While there, we actually saw a guy with a big truck (from a business) dumping a bunch of corrugated cardboard, when a cardboard recycling bin was just yards away. Now listen. I’m only a little bit green — I’m going to keep using Windex and don’t plan on buying only soy-based clothing or vegan shoes, but when a recycling bin is available, and could be used without really any inconvenience, come on, people! I feel really lucky that our recycling program is as good as it is here, and that I can just rinse out my cans and containers, toss them in my bin and feel good about it. I’ve wondered if it really makes a difference, and our tour guide assured us that this particular landfill is already projected to last many, many years longer than planned because of voluntary recycling. That saves both money and resources. So, keep doing it.
p.s. If you don’t recycle plastic grocery bags (and you should, or you should get re-usable ones if you can) at least tie a knot in them before you throw them away. They blow all over the place at the landfill, and wildlife gets caught in them.