On November 22nd, Facilities Team Green and other members of the University toured the High Acres Landfill in Fairport. This 360-acre landfill was originally developed in 1971 and is owned by Waste Management.
The tour began with an informational video that explained the landfill’s operation and its various sustainable efforts. Aside from the landfill itself, High Acres partners with the University and other local institutions to compost food scraps on-site. Additionally, over 12,000 tons of yard waste is managed per year. Since 2009, 2 million pounds of food waste has been composted and 91,000 tons of organics have been salvaged. The landfill utilizes the compost once it is ready, and any excess is given back to the surrounding towns.
Leachate leakage can be a main concern for landfills. High Acres addresses this concern by double lining its collection sites. This prevents chemicals and residue from leaking into the soil and contaminating drinking water.
When waste is buried, large amounts of methane gas are usually released into the atmosphere. However, High Acres has developed a system that allows them to collect the gas and use it to power about 10,000 homes in the local area.
Another environmentally conscious system High Acres has implemented is its birds. The operation is home to falcons who fly around the landfill during the day to scare off seagulls that tend to swarm the area. The falcons prevent the gulls from eating food that is not part of their natural diet and keep them away from the large machinery and cars that could harm them. With 275 acres preserved for wildlife, the institution strives to provide more than disposal services for communities and businesses.
A special thanks to Nicole Simonetti and the employees of High Acres Landfill for being accommodating and providing such an informational tour.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022
Photo Credit: High Acres Landfill