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

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Construction Waste

Last weekend I took these two pictures at the plaza across from Wegmans on 5 & 20. The building closest to the road was being renovated and there was a large pile of cinder blocks and other building materials in front of the building, as seen in the one picture. The first thing I thought when I saw this when driving by was, after all of these old building materials were collected up and put into that large blue dumpster, will all the cinder blocks, bricks, scrap metal, plastics and foam pieces going to be separated and properly disposed of or recycled? Or was the entire pile going to go right to a landfill which would be the cheaper and easier way out for the construction company? I also wondered if the local landfill would take in this construction waste or if it would need to be transported to a further location. The other picture I took shows some of the debris that ended up on the side of the building from the deconstruction. The first thing I thought of when I saw this was that all of this loose debris was going to get blown around by the wind into parking lots of other businesses, into the woods near the plaza, and into the streets; all places where there shouldn't be random pieces of this yellow foam material. It looks like that plastic orange fence didn't do its job.
In reality I think our utilitarian mind-set takes over and we just act in ways most convenient for us to rid the trash from our sight and forget about it. Most will not think of the other possibilities such as recycling or reusing these scraps for another project, which is something that needs to change if we want to reduce the waste piling up each day.

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