Despite the rain on November 17, students, faculty, and staff loaded onto a bus and rode out to Perinton, NY, to visit the High Acres Landfill for a tour of the facilities. Visiting landfill sites like High Acres can be enlightening opportunities to see what consumption and disposability looks like. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” means a lot when it comes to waste — if we don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. However, it does.
High Acres Landfill processes one million tons of waste per year and divert one million tons of food waste and is returned to the public as compost for the public. According to Waste Management, the landfill will be active until 255 and gas emissions will be monitored for 30 years after that.
When visiting the landfill for this tour, students from Prof. Kristin Doughty’s seminar, ANTH 302: Waste and Wasting, came with a perspective from studying the anthropological scholarship of waste and cultural ideas associated with consumption and disposability. Examining the waste and waste management of cultures can tell quite a lot about that culture’s values and behaviors.
Others were most intrigued by the Ivory, one of the on-site falcons that help keep seagull populations down. When gone unchecked, the gulls gather is such large numbers that they become a nuisance to local residents. “Seeing Ivory and learning about the ‘trash falcons’ was fascinating. I was surprised to learn how important their role is in the system of waste,” said Ally Dean, a Green Rep and staff member from the Office of the Dean of Students.