Our garbage is kind of wonderful

Our garbage is kind of wonderful

At least our pre-millennial garbage is kind of wonderful, or at least the way it’s managed is kind of wonderful.

I’ll get to the point: look at this. It’s a super-interesting blog called Landfill Diaries and its author, Marijke Rijsberman, writes about landfills all around the country. A weird type of tourism, you say? Actually, to me it seems extremely sensible. She’s looking our society right in the face. She’s confronting the reality of the mess we continually create. Yet her writing is not always hopeless in tone. Case in point: her most recent post, about our very own Ivy Landfill.

There it is!

It seems our local pile o’ trash is, in some ways, a model of greatness. Rijsberman likes the mountain view, the RSWA‘s tendency to talk openly to the neighbors, the state-of-the-art pollution controls, and the fact that folks can bring their dusty elliptical trainers here for recycling rather than dumping.

Still, as Rijsberman makes clear, waste is still a big problem, even in utopian Ivy. She explains that since the landfill closed in 2001, Charlottesville garbage still comes through here, but leaves again, bound for Jetersville. And that the three decades of trash that does reside here creates methane, leachates and volatile organic compounds.

If I were in charge of the world, I would make it so that when people visit a new town, they have to not only ogle the sights and dine at the restaurants, but tour the landfill like Rijsberman does, to see both the yin and yang of consumption.

And if I were teaching a course on the environment, I’d have my students read Landfill Diaries and then start some kind of journal of their own about the waste they personally create. My own journal for this week would include empty toilet-paper rolls, a couple of plastic produce bags I was too lazy to reuse, exhaust from my truck, electricity to run a light I forgot to turn off, and a little wooden coffee stirrer, among other things.

What about you?