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

Wegman's Sustainability

I was stumbling around the Wegmans website and came across a "Myths and Facts" page about paper and plastic. After reading through them, I realized that many of the Myths stem from the idea that our garbage is supposed to decompose in the landfill. As we have learned in class, this is not true. Landfills are often a dry tomb design, where waste is compacted and the leachate is pumped out. This prevents decomposition that would occur in more natural circumstances. Better education on waste could help consumers shop smarter. Below is one of the Myths that Wegman's debunks.

"Myth: Paper bags, cardboard and other biodegradable items are a better choice because they break down in landfills.
Fact: The truth is landfills today are designed so that not much of anything breaks down. Air and moisture are needed to have the kind of micro-organisms necessary to break certain materials down, and neither of those exist in any measurable amount in a landfill. In recent excavations of landfills, newspapers have been found still readable after 50 years."
The best would be to use recyclable bags that cost 99 cents. In many European countries, plastic bags are rarely used. It costs extra money to use them, so many people bring their own reusable bags.

Displaying a sign depicting the various places a certain container or item will go to after it is thrown out could educate and provide incentives for the consumer to shop for recyclable products.

1 comment:

  1. This is on Wegman's website? Wow - that's a pretty esoteric bit of trivia for most non-landfill specialists. But it's unclear to me from this Myth/Fact pair you post what the company is pushing as a better alternative.