Above, one of three mounds at the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Waterloo, NY, as seen from the west side of Seneca Lake approximately eight miles away (through a telephoto lens). Credit: Kevin Colton, HWS.

EPA Region Map

EPA Region Map
EPA Region Map

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Seneca Lake Garbage Patch

The other day I was walking my dog at Seneca Lake park. We were close to the end of the beach and I noticed a lot of garbage floating in the water. A closer look revealed tiny pieces of plastic that had were broken up by churning in the water for who knows how long. Along with the little pieces were a lot of larger intact pieces that are destined for the same thing. The garbage looked very similar to photos I have seen of beaches that contain tiny pieces of plastic and photos from the pacific garbage patch that show garbage floating just under the surface.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I took an exam this past Thursday, like the first exam, the professor handed out green books for us to write our essays in. We had to write two essays, and she decided that everyone needed two books to do this. I know that these come from a company that is 98% landfill free (I read it on a previous post), but I still didn't feel good about using two books to write two very short essays. I wrote my first essay and it was 3 pages long (1 front and back and 1 front). I couldn't in good conscience use a completely new book when I still had almost an entire book left. I wrote the second essay and ended up using 3 more pages (a total of 3 pages front and back). I'm hoping the professor didn't mind, but I just couldn't waste that much, even if it is recycled.

I was walking back to my room this morning and saw a clearly destroyed cell phone. I wanted to take a picture and pick it up then dispose of it properly, but my hands were way too full. I continued to my room with my stuff, dropped it off, and returned to grab the phone. By the time I got back, the phone was gone. I'm not sure who took it, but I'm hoping that they dispose of it properly. It was clearly destroyed and had no hope of working again. I hope this person realized this and didn't just throw it away when they noticed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Use For Abandoned Houses Part 2

During one of my adventures to Ithica, my GPS led me astray while trying to find College Town Bagels (who has a terrific composting program, by the way). Coincidentally, my GPS led me to a parking lot behind a building that was zoned to be demolished. I could hear people working inside, but was not conscience of what was really going on. Upon further inspection, I found that Finger Lakes ReUse was demolishing the building. Finger Lakes ReUse is a non profit organization that specializes in the green deconstruction of buildings, as well as the operation of a computer reuse program. On this day, they were having a teaching day where they were allowing volunteers to come inside and learn how to deconstruct a building. Unfortunately, this was a time commitment that I was not able to make. I was able to watch through some of the windows, and the process seems understandable. The people inside were dismantling the building one piece at a time, saving the materials they took apart as they went. This company seems to be the perfect solution to the question of what to do with the abandoned buildings we see every day. For more information, visit http://fingerlakesreuse.org

A Use For Abandoned Houses Part 1

We see them all the time. Driving along any road, we always seem to find burnt down, damaged, or just abandoned houses. If we let these houses sit, unattended, we are guilty of wasting resources. A house takes a lot of materials to be built. Minus a lack of any carpentry skills, I assume that a house takes wood, metal (screws, nails, pipes, etc.) sheet rock, and/or brick. In addition to all of these materials, there was some serious labor put into building a house. These houses are still prime reserves of resources. We can still extract the materials that went into building these houses. Additionally, we can use labor hours in the deconstruction of these houses. If only there was a company that took apart buildings in an environmentally responsible way, so that the materials could be resold and reused...