Nature Awareness #5

Explain where your household garbage ends up and what recycling is available in your area? (minimum 100 words)

I use IESI trash service for my area, which delivers all garbage for this area to the Blue Ridge Landfill located on Orchard Rd. in Scotland, PA. It has a long list of clients from around the area, and is involved in three different programs from the Department of Environmental Protection. Air Quality, Land Recycling & Waste Management, Water Pollution Control, and Water Resources Management. They apparently also create 5.1MW of electricity from methane, which they sell to a power company, though I don’t know which one. This is a positive step in the “gas-to-energy” field, which leads me to believe they are at least -attempting- to be environmentally conscious, as much as a landfill can be anyway 🙂

My recycling is also picked up by IESI, but distributed among several facilities. Glass, plastics 1 & 2, aluminum and tin cans are taken to the Washington Township Recycle Center on Rt 16 in Rouserville, PA., and newspaper and cardboard are taken to Chambersburg Waste Paper on Loop Rd, Chambersburg, PA (who I might add, has a hilarious but awesome site logo).

Just doing this small essay has made me think about how intricate waste management systems are in general. Someone was able to create a method of garbage disposal, so that all consumers have to do is pay a quarterly fee and place two bins out on the end of their driveway once a week. Once that truck comes up early in the morning to pick these bins up, a whole array of systems and processes begins. Sorting, distribution, policy, environmental concerns and regulations. It’s a pretty complex process, and most people don’t appreciate the thought and the mistakes that must have gone into making it what it is today.

At the very least, people (myself included) should take a few more minutes to help out by making sure cans are clean, caps are off of soda bottles, and paper/magazines are sorted. Though in my case, we save all of our newspapers to use as starter for our woodstove in the winter.

As far as septic waste, which was not specifically requested in this article but I plan to include anyway, I have not had our septic cleaned yet since we just moved into our home. I am scheduled to have it cleaned in Spring of 2011, and will research and choose a company then to empty out our tank. At our old house before we moved here, our septic had not been cleaned by our landlord in over 29 years. I can only imagine where it has been going all of that time, or what the tank must look like. I feel sorry for any new owners who attempt to clean that up.

(Word Count: 453)

Landfill Methane Outreach Program, “Pennsylvania Landfill Methane Projects”. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. July 15, 2010 <>.

IESI District Market Manager, IESI Corporation.

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